Friday, December 23, 2016

This is What Happened When a Nobel Winning Economist Introduced His Wife to Obama

The Financial Times explains:
Just weeks after he won the Nobel Prize, [Angus] Deaton and his wife, fellow Princeton economist Anne Case, published a paper revealing an alarming trend in US society: a surge in suicides and other “deaths of despair” among high school-educated white men had reached such an alarming level that middle-aged whites collectively had become the only demographic group in America in decades to see rising mortality. By their calculations, between 1999 and 2013 as many as 490,000 extra lives were lost as a result of the shift.

The Case/Deaton study was seized on as causal evidence for the rise of Trump and his appeal to disgruntled white voters in the American heartland. When President Obama welcomed Deaton and his fellow 2015 laureates to the White House, he spent most of a 45-minute meeting with the group interrogating the two economists about their findings. “He opened the door himself and shook my hand and I said, ‘I’d like to introduce you to my wife’. And he said ‘Professor Case needs no introduction. I’m a huge admirer of her work’,” Deaton recounts. “She just melted because we’d published the paper like the week before on the dying white people and he said, ‘We’re going to talk about your paper.’ And he’d read it down to the footnotes!”

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