Tackling Inequality: Tony Atkinson Wins the EIB Prize

08/06/2015 03:03 pm ET Updated Aug 05, 2016

The Luxembourg-based European Investment Bank Institute has announced that Sir Anthony B. Atkinson (Nuffield College, Oxford) will receive the 2015 EIB Outstanding Contribution Award for excellence in economic and social research.

Tony Atkinson established and shaped the modern British field of inequality and poverty studies over the past four decades. "His insights have been extremely influential both in economic theory and policy-making throughout the world," said jury president Sir Christopher Pissarides (LSE, 2010 Nobel laureate and 2005 IZA Prize winner).

Atkinson's work is predominantly focused on income distributions and the economics of public policy. The "Atkinson index," an inequality measure, is named after him. In his recent book Inequality - What can be done? he argues that high levels of inequality are not inevitable and that policies can be designed to make our societies both more equitable and more efficient.

In his article Reducing income inequality in Europe he points out that the recent rise in inequality is also a product of the institutions and policies adopted in the labor and capital markets. In tackling inequality, the European Union should learn from the lessons of history as well as base its reactions on research and empirical evidence but especially move beyond conventional approaches and think "outside the box".

"Tony is a great scientist with important impacts on the real world on all issues of inequality and poverty, in particular on measurement issues," said Klaus F. Zimmermann (IZA), who won the first EIB Outstanding Contribution Award in 2013 and served on the jury this year to select a winner in the field of Economics of Inequality and Economic Growth.

The annual EIB Prize in economics is awarded by the EIB Institute to "recognize and stimulate excellence in economic and social research, and its implementation and diffusion." Specifically, the research should be relevant for European development and integration.

The 2015 EIB Young Economist Award for scholars under the age of 40 goes to Benjamin Moll (Princeton University). The prizes will be presented by EIB President Werner Hoyer at the EIB in Luxembourg on November 11, 2015.