Nobel prize winner, who convinced people to pay tax, dies Nobel prize winner, who convinced people to pay tax, dies

Nobel prize winner, who convinced people to pay tax, dies
11 Sep 2018

An Oxford and Cambridge don, who won a Nobel prize for solving the tricky economic challenge of how to persuade taxpayers to pay what they owe, has died.

James A. Mirrlees, who was 82, had been suffering from a brain tumour, according to The New York Times.

Professor Mirrlees, who taught at both Cambridge and Oxford Universities, shared the 1996 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science with Columbia University’s William Vickrey. The pair were rewarded for their research into decision-making, which they had carried out independently.

Both focused on the role played by incentives and the impact on decision-making if people have access to different information. The two economists shared a US $1.12m prize at the time.

One of Professor Mirrlee’s core theories was that if too many progressive taxes were imposed on those with the highest incomes, it could discourage them from earning more, thereby reducing the overall tax take.

Mirrlees taught himself calculus as a teenager and became a college professor when he was just 32. The British academic enjoyed detective stories and playing the piano, as documented in his biography.

According to The New York Times, Professor Mirrlees was so surprised by the phone call to say he had won a Nobel prize that he initially dismissed it as a hoax, suspecting it was one of his friends faking a Swedish accent.

Gill Oliver

Gill Oliver is a business and property journalist who has written for The Daily Mail/Mail Online's This is Money, The Press Association and many national and regional newspapers and magazines.

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An Oxford and Cambridge don, who won a Nobel prize for solving the tricky economic challenge of how to persuade taxpayers to pay what they owe, has died.

James A. Mirrlees, who was 82, had been suffering from a brain tumour, according to The New York Times.

Professor Mirrlees, who taught at both Cambridge and Oxford Universities, shared the 1996 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science with Columbia University’s William Vickrey. The pair were rewarded for their research into decision-making, which they had carried out independently.

Both focused on the role played by incentives and the impact on decision-making if people have access to different information. The two economists shared a US $1.12m prize at the time.

One of Professor Mirrlee’s core theories was that if too many progressive taxes were imposed on those with the highest incomes, it could discourage them from earning more, thereby reducing the overall tax take.

Mirrlees taught himself calculus as a teenager and became a college professor when he was just 32. The British academic enjoyed detective stories and playing the piano, as documented in his biography.

According to The New York Times, Professor Mirrlees was so surprised by the phone call to say he had won a Nobel prize that he initially dismissed it as a hoax, suspecting it was one of his friends faking a Swedish accent.

Gill Oliver

Gill Oliver is a business and property journalist who has written for The Daily Mail/Mail Online's This is Money, The Press Association and many national and regional newspapers and magazines.

OTHER ARTICLES THAT MAY INTEREST YOU

Australia's tax system revealed

Individual income tax for expats in Malaysia 

 China to raise income tax threshold 

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