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Chancellor’s Distinguished Lecture to Feature Famine Researcher

Chancellor’s Distinguished Lecture to Feature Famine Researcher

Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen to speak on Friday, Oct. 26.

(October 16, 2007)

Amartya SenEnlarge

Amartya Sen

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen will discuss “The Idea of Justice” in the UC Riverside Chancellor’s Distinguished Lecture Series on Friday, Oct. 26 at 6 p.m. in the University Theatre.

The 2007-08 series theme is “Challenges of a Global Community.”

Sen, the Lamont University Professor and professor of economics and philosophy at Harvard University, received the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for research into the causes of famine. His work in the area of “social choice” examined the economic realities that kept people from accessing food, even if there was no shortage.

As a 9-year-old boy, Sen witnessed the Bengal famine of 1943, in which 3 million people died. Sen later concluded that this loss of life was unnecessary. He believed there was an adequate food supply in India at the time, but that its distribution was hindered because particular groups of people lost their jobs and their ability to purchase food.

One of Sen’s books, “Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation” (1981), found that food supplies were not significantly reduced in many cases of famine. Rather, social and economic factors, such as declining wages, unemployment, rising food prices and poor food-distribution systems, led to starvation among certain groups of people.

Sen received his B.A. and Ph.D. from Trinity College, Cambridge. He taught economics at several universities in India and England, including the universities of Jadavpur and Delhi, the London School of Economics, the University of London, and the University of Oxford, before moving to Harvard University in 1988. In 1998 he was appointed master of Trinity College, Cambridge. He currently is Lamont University Professor, and Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University.

Admission is free and parking is complimentary. A reception and book-signing will follow. Reservations are requested by Oct. 23 and may be made by contacting Evelyn Starr at 951-827-3144 or

The next event in the Chancellor’s Distinguished Lecture Series will feature author Joyce Carol Oates on Feb. 8, 2008.

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