Tony Atkinson

Sir Anthony Barnes "Tony" Atkinson[1] CBE FBA (4 September 1944 – 1 January 2017) was a British economist, senior research fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford, and Centennial Professor at the London School of Economics.[2]

A student of James Meade, Atkinson virtually single-handedly established the modern British field of inequality and poverty studies. He worked on inequality and poverty for over four decades.[3][4]

Tony Atkinson

Tony Atkinson - Festival Economia 2015
Tony Atkinson at the Festival of Economics in Trento, May 2015
Anthony Barnes Atkinson

4 September 1944
Caerleon, Wales
Died1 January 2017 (aged 72)
Oxford, England
Spouse(s)Judith Mandeville
InstitutionNuffield College, Oxford
London School of Economics
FieldEconomics of income distribution, poverty, micro-economics
School or
Neo-Keynesian economics
Alma materCambridge University
John Micklewright
InfluencesJames Meade
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

Education and career

Atkinson attended Cranbrook School.[5] After considering studying mathematics, he graduated from the University of Cambridge in 1966 with a first-class degree before spending time at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[6] He cited his interest in inequality as beginning from volunteering in a German hospital in the 1960s.[7]

He served as Warden of Nuffield College, Oxford, from 1994 to 2005. Before that he held positions at the University of Cambridge, University College London, the London School of Economics, the University of Essex and the University of Oxford.[8] He also edited the Journal of Public Economics.[9]


Atkinson's work was predominantly on income distributions. There is an inequality measure named after him: the Atkinson index.[10] In a joint article with Joseph Stiglitz, he laid one of the cornerstones for the theory of optimal taxation.[11]

In his 2015 publication Inequality: What Can Be Done?, he "called for robust taxation of the rich whom he reckons have got off easily over the last generation."[3][12][13]

He recommended government intervention in markets such as employment guarantees and wage controls to influence the redistribution of economic rewards.[3] He traced the history of inequality, coining the phrase the "inequality turn" to describe the period when household inequality began to rise around 1980. From the 1980s onwards, men and women "tended to marry those who earned like themselves", with rich women marrying rich men. As more women joined the workforce inequality increased.[3]

Atkinson examined how the wealthy disproportionately influence public policy and influence governments to implement policies that protect wealth.[3] He presented a set of policies regarding technology, employment, social security, the sharing of capital, and taxation that could shift the inequality in income distribution in developed countries.[14] He also advocated the introduction of a basic income.[15]


Atkinson, who worked on inequality and poverty for more than four decades, was a mentor to Thomas Piketty (author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century); they worked together on building an historical database on top incomes.[3] Piketty described him as "the godfather of historical studies of income and wealth."[16]

Membership and honours

He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1984, a Fellow of the Econometric Society in 1974, Honorary Member of the American Economic Association in 1985 and Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1994.[17]

He was President of the Econometric Society in 1988.[18] He was knighted in 2000 and made a Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur in 2001. He was the first person to be honoured with the A.SK Social Science Award by the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB Social Science Center in Berlin) in 2007.[19] He was president of the board of the Luxembourg Income Study, having advised on its creation in the 1980s.[20]

In 2016, Atkinson received the Dan David Prize for 'combatting poverty'.[21]

Personal life and death

Atkinson was married to Judith Mandeville, whom he met at Cambridge. The couple had three children. Atkinson died on 1 January 2017 from multiple myeloma in Oxford, England, aged 72.[7][22]



  • Atkinson, Anthony B.; Harrison, Allan J. (1978). Distribution of personal wealth in Britain. Cambridge New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521217354.
  • Atkinson, Anthony B.; Stiglitz, Joseph E. (1980). Lectures on public economics. London New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co. ISBN 9780070841055.
  • Atkinson, Anthony B. (1983). The economics of inequality. Oxford Oxfordshire New York: Clarendon Press Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198772088.
  • Atkinson, Anthony B. (1995). Incomes and the welfare state: essays on Britain and Europe. Cambridge New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521557962.
  • Atkinson, Anthony B. (1996). Public economics in action: the basic income/flat tax proposal. Oxford New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198292166.
  • Atkinson, Anthony B. (1999). The economic consequences of rolling back the welfare state. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. ISBN 9780262011716.
  • Atkinson, Anthony B.; Bourguignon, François (2000). Handbook of income distribution. Amsterdam New York: Elvesier. ISBN 9780444816313.
  • Atkinson, Anthony B; Stern, Nicholas H.; Glennerster, Howard (2000). Putting economics to work: volume in honour of Michio Morishima. 22. London: London School of Economics and Political Science, and the STICERD – Suntory-Toyota International Centre for Economics and Related Disciplines. ISBN 9780753013991.
  • Atkinson, Anthony B. (2004). New sources of development finance. Oxford New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199278558.
  • Atkinson, Anthony B.; Piketty, Thomas (2007). Top incomes over the Twentieth Century: a contrast between Continental European and English-speaking countries. Oxford New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199286881.
  • Atkinson, Anthony B. (2008). The changing distribution of earnings in OECD countries. Oxford New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199532438.
  • Atkinson, Anthony B.; Piketty, Thomas (2010). Top incomes: a global perspective. Oxford New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199286898.
  • Atkinson, Anthony B. (2014). Public economics in an age of austerity. New York: Routledge. ISBN 9781138018150.
  • Atkinson, Anthony B. (2014). Inequality: What Can Be Done?. Harvard University Press. p. 384. ISBN 9780674504769.

Chapters in books

  • Atkinson, Anthony B. (2002), "Globalization and the European welfare state at the opening and the closing of the twentieth century", in Kierzkowski, Henryk, Europe and globalization, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 249–273, ISBN 9780333998397
  • Atkinson, Anthony B. (2008), "Concentration among the rich", in Davies, James B, Personal wealth from a global perspective, Oxford New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 64–89, ISBN 9780199548897
  • Atkinson, Anthony B. (2009), "Welfare economics and giving for development", in Kanbur, Ravi; Basu, Kaushik, Arguments for a better world: essays in honor of Amartya Sen | Volume I: Ethics, welfare, and measurement, Oxford New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 489–500, ISBN 9780199239115

Journal articles

See also


  1. ^ "Atkinson, A.B. (Anthony Barnes), 1944–". Library of Congress. Retrieved 17 July 2014. CIP t.p. (A.B. Atkinson, London School of Economics) data sheet (b. 09-04-44)
  2. ^ "Tony Atkinson – Biography". Tony Atkinson – personal website. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Mind the Gap: Anthony Atkinson, the godfather of inequality research, on a growing problem", The Economist, 6 June 2015, retrieved 7 June 2015
  4. ^ Armbruster, Alexander; Berger, Gerald Brown. "Der große Ungleichheitsforscher ist tot". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  5. ^ "Cranbrook School – Alumni". Cranbrook School. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  6. ^ "Britischer Ökonom Atkinson ist tot". Spiegel Online. 2017-01-02. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  7. ^ a b Giles, Chris; O'Connor, Sarah. "Sir Tony Atkinson, economist and campaigner, 1944-2017". Financial Times. Nomura. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  8. ^ ATKINSON, Sir Anthony Barnes, (Sir Tony), Who's Who 2015, A & C Black, 2015; online edn, Oxford University Press, 2014.
  9. ^ "VoxEU author page". CEPR. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  10. ^ Atkinson, AB (1970) On the measurement of inequality. Journal of Economic Theory, 2 (3), pp. 244–263, doi:10.1016/0022-0531(70)90039-6
  11. ^ Atkinson, A. B., and J. E. Stiglitz (1976), The design of tax structure: Direct versus indirect taxation, Journal of Public Economics, 6 (1-2): 55-75, doi:10.1016/0047-2727(76)90041-4
  12. ^ Atkinson, Anthony B. (2014). Inequality: What Can Be Done?. Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674504769.
  13. ^ Atkinson, Tony. "The 15 Proposals from Tony Atkinson's 'Inequality – What can be done?'". Tony Atkinson (personal website). Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  14. ^ "Review of Inequality: What Can Be Done?", Harvard University Press, 2015, retrieved 7 June 2015
  15. ^ Atkinson, Anthony B. (2011) „Basic Income: Ethics, Statistics and Economics”,; accessed 13 May 2017.
  16. ^ Chu, Ben (2015-05-29). "Sir Anthony Atkinson and the curious optimism of the godfather of inequality". The Independent. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  17. ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter A" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Archived (PDF) from the original on 10 May 2011. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
  18. ^ "In Memoriam: Anthony B. Atkinson". Econometric Society. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  19. ^ "Curriculum Vitae – Sir Tony Atkinson". Nuffield College, Oxford. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  20. ^ "We mourn the loss of Tony Atkinson, LIS President". Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  21. ^ "Professor Sir Tony Atkinson wins prestigious award for work on poverty". Oxford Martin School. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  22. ^ "Anthony Atkinson: The economist who battled against inequality has died". 2 January 2017. Retrieved 13 May 2017.

External links

Educational offices
Preceded by
Kaushik Basu
President of the Human Development and Capability Association
September 2012 – September 2014
Succeeded by
Henry S. Richardson

1944 (MCMXLIV)

was a leap year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar, the 1944th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 944th year of the 2nd millennium, the 44th year of the 20th century, and the 5th year of the 1940s decade.

1944 in the United Kingdom

Events from the year 1944 in the United Kingdom. The year was dominated by the Second World War.

1991 Spanish motorcycle Grand Prix

The 1991 Spanish motorcycle Grand Prix was the fourth round of the 1991 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season. It took place on the weekend of 10–12 May 1991 at the Jerez circuit.


2017 (MMXVII)

was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar, the 2017th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 17th year of the 3rd millennium, the 17th year of the 21st century, and the 8th year of the 2010s decade.

2017 was designated as International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development by the United Nations General Assembly.

2017 in Europe

This is a list of events that took place in Europe in 2017.

2017 in the United Kingdom

Events from the year 2017 in the United Kingdom.

Alison Booth

Alison L. Booth is an Australian labour economist and novelist who is Professor of Economics at the Australian National University. She is the author of The Jingera Trilogy which comprises three novels: Stillwater Creek, The Indigo Sky and A Distant Land. All three novels are set in the fictional coastal town of Jingera.

Claus Offe

Claus Offe (born 16 March 1940 in Berlin) is a political sociologist of Marxist orientation. He received his PhD from the University of Frankfurt and his Habilitation at the University of Konstanz. In Germany, he has held chairs for Political Science and Political Sociology at the Universities of Bielefeld (1975–1989) and Bremen (1989–1995), as well as at the Humboldt-University of Berlin (1995–2005). He has worked as fellow and visiting professor at the Institutes for Advanced Study in Stanford, Princeton, and the Australian National University as well as Harvard University, the University of California at Berkeley and The New School University, New York. Once a student of Jürgen Habermas, the left-leaning German academic is counted among the second generation Frankfurt School. He currently teaches political sociology at a private university in Berlin, the Hertie School of Governance.

He has made substantive contributions to understanding the relationships between democracy and capitalism. His recent work has focused on economies and states in transition to democracy.

He has been married to Ulrike Poppe since 2001.

Fairbourne Railway

The Fairbourne Railway (Welsh: Rheilffordd y Friog) is a 12 1⁄4 in (311 mm) gauge railway running for 2 miles (3.2 km) from the village of Fairbourne on the Mid-Wales coast, alongside the beach to the end of a peninsula at Barmouth Ferry railway station, where there is a connection with the Barmouth Ferry across the Mawddach estuary to the seaside resort of Barmouth (Welsh: Abermaw).

Gabriel Zucman

Gabriel Zucman (born 30 October 1986) is a French economist known for his research on tax havens and corporate tax havens from his 2015 book The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens. Zucman is also known for his work on the quantification of the financial scale of base erosion and profit shifting ("BEPS") tax avoidance techniques employed by multinationals in corporate tax havens, through which he identified Ireland as the world's largest corporate tax haven in 2018. Zucman showed that the leading corporate tax havens are all OECD–compliant, and that tax disputes between high–tax locations and havens are very rare. Zucman's papers are some of the most cited papers on research into tax havens and corporate tax havens. In 2018, Zucman was the recipient of the Prize for the Best Young Economist in France, awarded by the Cercle des économistes and Le Monde in recognition of his research on tax evasion and avoidance and their economic consequences.

Honours Committee

The Honours Committee is a committee within the Cabinet Office of the Government of the United Kingdom formed to review nominations for national honours for merit, exceptional achievement or service. Twice yearly the Honours Committee submits formal recommendations for the British monarch's New Years and Birthday Honours. Members of the Honours Committee—which comprises a main committee and nine subcommittees in speciality areas—research and vet nominations for national awards, including knighthoods and the Order of the British Empire.

Human Development and Capability Association

The Human Development and Capability Association (HDCA) was launched in September 2004 at the Fourth Capability Conference in Pavia, Italy. It was founded to promote research from many disciplines on key problems including poverty, justice, well-being, and economics.The Association holds annual conferences; maintains a website and mailing list; supports training activities; and provides a forum in which collaborative research can emerge.The HDCA also produces a peer-reviewed journal, the Journal of Human Development and Capabilities: A Multi-Disciplinary Journal for People-Centered Development. The association is supported by the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

January 1

January 1 is the first day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. There are 364 days remaining until the end of the year (365 in leap years). This day is known as New Year's Day since the day marks the beginning of the year. It is also the first day of the first quarter of the year and the first half of the year.

Journal of Public Economics

The Journal of Public Economics is a monthly peer-reviewed academic journal covering public economics, with particular emphasis on the application of modern economic theory and methods of quantitative analysis. It provides a forum for discussion of public policy of interest to an international readership. It was established in 1972 by Tony Atkinson and is published by Elsevier. The current editors-in-chief are Wojciech Kopczuk (Columbia University) and Erzo F.P. Luttmer (Dartmouth College). According to the Journal Citation Reports, the journal has a 2017 impact factor of 1.905.

Kaushik Basu

Kaushik Basu (born 9 January 1952) is an Indian economist who was Chief Economist of the World Bank from 2012 to 2016. He is the C. Marks Professor of International Studies and Professor of Economics at Cornell University, and began a three-year term as President of the International Economic Association in June 2017. From 2009 to 2012, during the United Progressive Alliance's second term, Basu served as the Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India.

Optimum population

Optimum population refers to the size of a population that produces the best results according to chosen end targets. One text from 1926 presented a single end target as being "...the largest per capita income of consumers' goods possible under the given conditions".

Other potential end targets in favour of lower levels of population are cited, including: long term sustainability, efficient operation of democracy, the preservation of personal freedom and the preservation of biodiversity while potential end targets in favour of higher levels of population are cited, including the abilities to preserve and foster cultural diversity, to stimulate intellectual, artistic, and technological creativity and to facilitate social infrastructure.

Saint John's International School (Thailand)

Saint John's International School (Thai: โรงเรียนนานาชาติเซนต์จอห์น) (SJIS) was an international school located in Chatuchak District, Bangkok, Thailand. It was established in 1991 by Ajarn Samai Chinnapa within Saint John's Group of Schools and University (established in 1961). The school closed in June 2017.

The school offered students an international education from Nursery to Year 13 (Kindergarten to grade 12). The school was divided into three phases : Infants (nursery and Key Stage 1), Junior / Middle School (Key Stage 2 and 3) and High School (Key Stages 4 and 5). The school followed the British Curriculum (See Education in England) to Year 11 where students took IGCSE; students in Senior High School undertook a university preparation programme. Students who successfully completed Year 13 (grade 12) were awarded with a High School Diploma. St. John's International School was a founding member of the International School Association of Thailand (ISAT). It was also the first school in Thailand to be designated under the Safe School Community International Accreditation Programme (SSCIAP) by the Safe Communities Foundation New Zealand.

September 4

September 4 is the 247th day of the year (248th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 118 days remaining until the end of the year.

Thomas Piketty

Thomas Piketty (French: [tɔ.ma pi.kɛ.ti]; born 7 May 1971) is a French economist whose work focuses on wealth and income inequality. He is a professor (directeur d'études) at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS), associate chair at the Paris School of Economics and Centennial professor at the International Inequalities Institute, which is part of the London School of Economics (LSE).Piketty is the author of the best-selling book Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2013), which emphasises the themes of his work on wealth concentrations and distribution over the past 250 years. The book argues that the rate of capital return in developed countries is persistently greater than the rate of economic growth, and that this will cause wealth inequality to increase in the future. To address this problem Piketty proposes redistribution through a progressive global tax on wealth.


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