A scholar and a companion

Print edition : January 02, 1999

EMMA ROTHSCHILD, Amartya Sen's wife, is an economic historian and historian of economic thought, and a Fellow at King's College, Cambridge. She is Director of the Centre for History and Economics at the University of Cambridge. To Frontline she spoke of the "overwhelmingly warm and positive" response to the news of the Nobel Prize for Sen "from all around the world". She said that it was "encouraging and positive that after he received the award, the public discussion internationally is very much about the substance of his work on development, poverty, and social choice in a general sense." The Prize and the publicity that followed have brought their own pressures: "Very simply, the phone keeps ringing all the time." Rothschild also spoke of how her husband was keen to "do as much as he can because the reaction is to the ideas he believes in."

Rothschild, who taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston for 10 years, also holds a position at Harvard as Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for Population and Development Studies. She has just finished a book about economic thought and the Enlightenment, in particular on the ideas of Adam Smith and Condorcet, a leading intellectual figure of the French Revolution. "The intellectual history of the 18th century is an area we are both very interested in," Rothschild said, and she and Sen are planning a joint article next year on the economics and philosophy of Adam Smith for the Cambridge Companion on Adam Smith. "Amartya is full of new things he wants to write about," she said.

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