Sir James Mirrlees FBA
Economics: economic theory, public finance, development especially in Asia
- UK Fellow
Sir James Mirrlees was born and brought up in a small town in Scotland. His first two degrees, from Edinburgh and Cambridge, were in mathematics. His doctorate was in economics, with a highly mathematical thesis on saving under uncertainty. After a year in India, doing development economics, he returned to Cambridge, as Assistant Lecturer in economics and Fellow of Trinity College. Five years later he went to Oxford as Edgeworth Professor of Economics. After twenty-seven years there, he became Professor of Political Economy in Cambridge, until retirement in 2003. Since then he has been Distinguished Professor-at-Large in the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and is now Master of Morningside College there. His main work is in the theory of public finance, the economics of uncertainty, and development economics. In 1996 he shared a Nobel Memorial Prize in economics with William Vickrey, for contributions to the theory of incentives under asymmetric information. He had solved the problem of devising and solving a model of optimal income taxation.