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James A. Mirrlees

AKA James Alexander Mirrlees

Born: 5-Jul-1936
Birthplace: Minnigaff, Scotland

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Economist

Nationality: Scotland
Executive summary: Asymmetric information in economics

James A. Mirrlees endured a somewhat sickly childhood in Scotland, where his father was a bank teller. Well ahead of his high school class he taught himself calculus by reading the book Teach Yourself Calculus, and then he began reading his math teacher's university textbooks. After attending Cambridge and Oxford, he conducted his best-known work on "asymmetric information" wherein buyer and seller have unequal information about a transaction. For "fundamental contributions to the economic theory of incentives under asymmetric information", Mirrlees and William Vickrey were awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1996. Upon receiving the phone call from the Nobel Committee, Mirrlees said he "politely suggested that it didn't sound very likely and I would need some proof."

Father: (bank teller)
Wife: (m. 1961, d. 1993 cancer, two children)

    High School: Douglas Ewart High School, Wigtownshire, Scotland (1953)
    University: BS Mathematics and Natural Philosophy, University of Edinburgh (1957)
    University: MA Mathematics, Cambridge University
    University: PhD Economics, Cambridge University (1963)
    Teacher: Center for International Studies in New Delhi, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1962-63)
    Teacher: Economics, Cambridge University (1963-68)
    Scholar: Economics, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (1966-68)
    Professor: Economics, Oxford University (1968-95)
    Professor: Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1968, 70-71, 76)
    Professor: Economics, EC Berkeley (1986-87)
    Professor: Economics, Yale University (1989-90)
    Professor: Political Economy, Cambridge University (1995-)

    Nobel Prize for Economics 1996 (with William Vickrey)
    Knight of the British Empire 1998
    Econometric Society
    National Academy of Sciences

Author of books:
Economic Policy and Nonrational Behaviour (1987)
Welfare, Incentives, and Taxation (2006)


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