30 August 2018

Mourning Professor Sir James Mirrlees, Founding Master of Morningside College and Distinguished Professor-at-Large of CUHK



Professor Sir James Mirrlees, Founding Master of Morningside College and Distinguished Professor-at-Large of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), passed away on 29 August 2018 in Cambridge, UK at the age of 82. Professor Mirrlees was a world-renowned economist and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 1996.  CUHK is profoundly saddened by the death of Professor Mirrlees and has extended its deep condolences to his family. 

Professor Rocky S. Tuan, Vice-Chancellor and President of CUHK expressed his great sorrow at the passing of Professor Mirrlees. “Professor Mirrlees, Distinguished Professor-at-Large at CUHK and Master of Morningside College, was a brilliant economist, whose outstanding contributions to economic theory had profound impact on global economic development, earning him the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1996,” said Professor Tuan. “The CUHK community will always remember his exemplary academic and scholarly leadership and dedicated stewardship at Morningside College. I am truly grateful for his profound contribution to higher education in Hong Kong. All of us at CUHK will miss not only his scholarship and wisdom, but also his wit, his smiles, and his always insightful remarks. Professor Mirrlees’ passing is a great loss for both CUHK and the entire higher education sector in Hong Kong and the world. On behalf of our staff and students, I express our sincerest condolence to Lady Patricia Mirrlees and Professor Mirrlees’ family.”

Professor Mirrlees was born in 1936 in Scotland. A pioneer in optimal tax theory, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 1996 in recognition of his fundamental contributions to the economic theory of incentives under asymmetric information. After graduating in mathematics from the University of Edinburgh in 1957, Professor Mirrlees went to Trinity College, Cambridge, initially to do mathematics, and received his PhD in Economics in 1963. From 1968 to 1995 he was Edgeworth Professor of Economics at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Nuffield College. From 1995 to 2003, he served as Professor of Political Economy at the University of Cambridge. He was knighted in 1997 and awarded the Royal Medal by The Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2009 in recognition of his outstanding contributions to economic theory. He was Distinguished Professor-at-Large at CUHK from 2002 and was the Founding Master of Morningside College, CUHK.

Professor Mirrless also held Visiting Professorships at MIT, UC Berkeley, Yale, Melbourne and Peking University. He was President of the Royal Economic Society from 1989 to 1992, and a fellow of the British Academy, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Econometric Society, and a Foreign Honorary Member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the American Economic Association.