The Personal Website of Professor Sir Tony Atkinson

Professor Sir Tony Atkinson is an academic economist particularly concerned with issues of social justice and the design of public policy. He has been writing on economics since the 1960s, when his first book was on poverty in Britain and his second on the unequal distribution of wealth. He is currently working on top incomes, contributing to the World Top Incomes Database, and on monitoring rising inequality across the world. Together with Joe Stiglitz, he wrote Lectures in Public Economics, and today he is developing research on global public economics.


Research Interests and Current Research Projects

Professor Atkinson is a researcher in economics and focuses on the economics of income distribution and poverty.

His research is concerned with:

  • Distribution of income and wealth
  • Poverty and the welfare state
  • European social agenda
  • Global public economics
  • Welfare economics

Current research focuses on the following:

  • Long-run evolution of distribution of income and wealth
  • Global poverty
  • Top incomes and the gender divide
  • European social monitoring
  • Top incomes in British colonies

Forthcoming report: Monitoring Global Poverty

“I have recently completed a report for the World Bank on monitoring global poverty, as chair of the Commission on Global Poverty. The request from the Bank arose from the two-fold goals that guide its development work worldwide. The first is the target by 2030 of reducing below 3 per cent of the world population the number of extremely poor people, now defined as those living on less per day than 1.90 international dollars. The second is the boosting of shared prosperity, defined as promoting the growth of per capita real income of the poorest 40 per cent of the population in each country. The Commission was asked to provide advice on two questions. The first is: What should be the interpretation going forward of the definition of extreme poverty, set in 2015 at $1.90 a day per person in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP)-adjusted dollars? The second question is: What choices should the World Bank make regarding complementary measures – both monetary and non-monetary – of poverty to be tracked and made available to policy-makers? The two parts of the Report – Parts A and B – correspond to these questions. Part A is concerned with a quite specific question; and Part B opens up the discussion to a much wider view of what is meant by global poverty. The work of the Commission was given impetus by the agreement at the United Nations in September 2015 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Goal 1.1 – the eradication by 2030 of extreme poverty – is the focus of Part A. Part B deals with issues raised in other SDGs. The Report was launched at the World Bank on 13 July 2016 and it will be published in September 2016 as Monitoring Global Poverty, World Bank, Washington, D.C.”

– Tony Atkinson (25 July 2016)