skip to navigation skip to content

Sir James A. Mirrlees

Distinguished Professor-at-large, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Emeritus Professor of Political Economy, University of Cambridge

Cambridge affiliations

  • Maths Tripos Parts II and III, Trinity College (1957)
  • PhD Economics, Trinity College
  • Lecturer in Economics and Fellow of Trinity College (1963-1968)
  • Professor of Political Economy (1995-2003)
  • Fellow of Trinity College (1995-)

Professional history

Between 1968 and 1976, Sir James was a visiting professor at MIT three times. He taught at both The University of Oxford (1969-1995) and the University of Cambridge (1963-1968 and 1995-2003).

During his time at Oxford, he published papers on economic models for which he would eventually be awarded his Nobel Prize. They centred on situations in which economic information is asymmetrical or incomplete, determining how incompleteness should affect economic policies. One example is the theory of optimal income taxation. Another is the theory of insurance and contracts when there is "moral hazard". Mirrlees and William Vickrey shared the 1996 Nobel Prize for Economics "for their fundamental contributions to the economic theory of incentives under asymmetric information".

Mirrlees is also co-creator of the Diamond-Mirrlees Efficiency Theorem, published in 1971.

On retirement from Cambridge, Mirrlees became a part-time professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and also held visiting appointments at the University of Macau and the University of Melbourne. Subsequently, In 2009, he became full-time at the Chinese University, and was appointed Founding Master of Morningside College there.

Mirrlees is a member of Scotland's Council of Economic Advisers. He also led The Mirrlees Review of Taxation, a review of the UK tax system by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Society & charity work

Policy Advisor to Fortune Forum, London.

Sir James Mirrlees