Professor Amartya Sen has been awarded the 2021 Princess of Asturias Award for Social Sciences. The Award, which comes with a sculpture by Joan Miró and a cash prize of €50,000, was established to recognize “the scientific, technical, cultural, social and humanitarian work carried out at an international level by individuals, institutions or groups of individuals or institutions.” Sen was selected from a pool of 41 other candidates, and is being recognized for his focus on the causes of and remedies for economic inequality:
“His research on famines and his theory of human development, welfare economics and the underlying mechanisms of poverty have contributed to the fight against injustice, inequality, disease and ignorance. In his best-known work, Poverty and Famines. An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation (1981), he demonstrated that hunger is not a consequence of the lack of food, but rather of inequalities in its mechanisms of distribution. His contributions to the development of economic and social indicators have been the concepts of capabilities and positive freedom, the real capacity of a person to be or to do something, as opposed to negative freedom, a common concept in economics focussing on non-interference. His school of thought has helped redirect development plans and a number of United Nations policies.”
Sen is the Thomas W. Lamont University Professor, and Professor of Economics and Philosophy, at Harvard University. He is also Senior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows, and was the 1998 Nobel Prize Winner in Economics. You Can read more about the Princess of Asturias Award here. The department congratulates him on his achievement.