Business 22/06/2021

Angus Deaton, Amartya Sen and Joseph Stiglitz, among the thirty Economics Nobel prize winners who sign a letter in support of Mas-Colell

The International Economic Association also subscribes its solidarity with the Catalan economist before the threat of the Court of Auditors

Ara
2 min
Andreu Mas-Colell at the beginning of his speech.

BarcelonaA total of 33 Nobel Prize winners in economics and twenty other renowned economists say they are "deeply concerned" about the situation of Professor Andreu Mas-Collel, whom they refer to as "one of the best known and most respected Spanish economists". This group of economists, among whom are the majority of Nobel prize winners of the past ten years, have signed an article in which they defend the ex Catalan minister after his son explained on Twitter that the Court of Auditors could seize Mas-Colell's house, pension and bank account.

The Court of Auditors opened an investigation against him and 40 other people for alleged irregularities over the Catalan Government's foreign action between 2011 and 2017. But the prestigious economists who sign the article, published in El País, criticise that the exact charges against him have not been specified.

"The procedure of the Court of Auditors could have disastrous financial consequences for Professor Mas-Colell - they complain in the text -. As the penalty could exceed the combined net assets of all defendants, Professor Mas-Colell faces the prospect of having all his assets seized: this, despite the fact that the 18,000-plus page indictment documentation sent to Professor Mas-Colell does not specify his connection" to the facts, they continue.

Among the signatories are British Nobel laureate Angus Deaton, known for his analysis of poverty and welfare; India's Amartya Sen, who received the prize in 1998 also for the social focus of his study of the economy; media personalities Joseph Stiglitz and Jean Tirole; the second woman to win the award, Esther Duflo; the also PhD honoris causa at Universitat Pompeu Fabra Robert M. Solow; and the two most recent Nobel Prize winners in economics, Paul Milgrom and Robert B. Wilson. All of them emphasise the ex-minister's "great integrity", that he is a person dedicated "to the public good" and his "disposition to carry out responsibilities of government in Spain and Europe"

"Professor Andreu Mas-Colell is an example for all Spanish scientists abroad: the outcome of this procedure may have a negative influence on the willingness of these people to return to their country and contribute to public service," conclude these fifty economists.

From European economists to American mathematicians

This is the latest in a whole series of expressions of support that have appeared since Mas-Colell's son denounced the situation on Twitter. The European Economic Association and the International Economic Association, for example, have also expressed their opposition. The executive committee of this European entity expresses in another letter its solidarity with the Catalan economist and is hopeful that everything will end positively for him. Finally, after outlining part of his career, they affirm that the professor "has demonstrated an indestructible spirit of service and has behaved with the highest level of integrity".

The American Association of Mathematicians, which through its human rights committee has opened a virtual petition asking for signatures in support of Mas-Colell, also wanted to make a stand in favour of the former minister. Support for the former minister was also evident last week at the Cercle d'Economia conference, when attendees welcomed him with applause at the beginning of his talk.

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