The Nobel Papers

Press realease announcing the recipient of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, 1998, outlining primary areas of research and contributions thereto:
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the 1998 Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, to Professor Amartya Sen, Trinity College, Cambridge, U.K. (citizen of India), for his contributions to welfare economics.
Social Choice, Welfare Distributions, and Poverty
Amartya Sen has made several key contributions to the research on fundamental problems in welfare economics. His contributions range from axiomatic theory of social choice, over definitions of welfare and poverty indexes, to empirical studies of famine. They are tied closely together by a general interest in distributional issues and a particular interest in the most impoverished members of society. Sen has clarified the conditions which permit aggregation of individual values into collective decisions, and the conditions which permit rules for collective decision making that are consistent with a sphere of rights for the individual. By analyzing the available information about different individuals' welfare when collective decisions are made, he has improved the theoretical foundation for comparing different distributions of society's welfare and defined new, and more satisfactory, indexes of poverty. In empirical studies, Sen's applications of his theoretical approach have enhanced our understanding of the economic mechanisms underlying famines.
Can the values which individual members of society attach to different alternatives be aggregated into values for society as a whole, in a way that is both fair and theoretically sound? Is the majority principle a workable decision rule? How should income inequality be measured? When and how can we compare the distribution of welfare in different societies? How should we best determine whether poverty is on the decline? What are the factors that trigger famines? By answering questions such as these, Amartya Sen has made a number of noteworthy contributions to central fields of economic science and opened up new fields of study for subsequent generations of researchers. By combining tools from economics and philosophy, he has restored an ethical dimension to the discussion of vital economic problems.

From “The Prize in Economics 1998 - Press Release". 29 Apr 2011.

Nobel Prize Press Release: full text (pdf).
"Possibility of Social Choice". The Prize Lecture (pdf), December 8, 1998.
Speech at the Nobel Banquet (pdf). Off-site video link here. December 10, 1998.
Speech at the Nobel Centennial Symposia (off-site video). December 6, 2001.

sen-nobel-lecture.pdf2.35 MB
NobelPressRelease.pdf96.29 KB
SenBanquetSpeech.pdf84.19 KB