James Mirrlees 101: Explore the Knighted British Economist
Zatrun Published at April 06, 2023

James Mirrlees 101: Who is the British Economist? In our article of, we will cover in detail everything you need to know about James Mirrlees, the British economist that our readers are curious about.

Who is James Mirrlees?

James Mirrlees was a famous British economist who won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1996. He was also knighted in 1997 for his contribution to economics. Mirrlees was born in Minnigaff, Kirkcudbrightshire and received his education at Douglas Ewart High School.

He was later educated at the University of Edinburgh and Trinity College, Cambridge. He was known as a highly active student debater and was a member of the Cambridge Apostles along with his fellow Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen. At the same time, Mirrlees’ doctoral dissertation, supervised by Richard Stone, was entitled Optimal Planning for Dynamic Economics.

James Mirrlees was an outstanding British economist who made significant contributions to the field of economics. in 1968-1976, he was a visiting lecturer at prestigious universities such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California, Berkeley and Yale University. He also held teaching positions at the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge.

During his time at Oxford University, James Mirrlees published papers on economic models that would eventually lead to him receiving the Nobel Prize. His articles focused on asymmetric information that determines the optimal savings rate in an economy. Mirrlees cited principles such as “moral hazard” and “optimal income taxation” discussed in William Vickrey’s books. Since then, this methodology has become standard in the field of economics.

His Contributions to the Economics

James Mirrlees and Vickrey shared the 1996 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics for their fundamental contributions to the theory of economic incentives under asymmetric information. in 1971, Mirrlees proposed the Diamond-Mirrlees efficiency theorem to MIT Professor Peter A. Diamond. He created it together with Diamond.

Mirrlees was Emeritus Professor of Political Economy at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Trinity College. He spent several months a year at the University of Melbourne, Australia, and held positions as Distinguished Professor-at-Large at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the University of Macau.

He was appointed as the Founding Master of Morningside College at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2009. Mirrlees was a member of the Scottish Council of Economic Advisers and led the Mirrlees Review, a review of the UK tax system by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Mirrlees had several important doctoral degrees. Distinguished academics and policy makers were among the PhD students, including such names as Franklin Allen, Sir Partha Decgupta, Huw Dixon, Hyun-Song Shin, Anthony Venables, Zhang Weiying, Sir John Vickers and Lord Nicholas Stern. James Mirrlees passed away on August 29, 2018 in Cambridge, England.

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