Former Hawick High School pupil named as one of USA’s leading movers and shakers

Angus Deaton.

Angus Deaton.

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A former Hawick High School pupil is named in a list of 50 “thinkers, doers and visionaries” transforming politics in the US.

Angus Deaton and his wife Anne Case, both professors at Princeton University in New Jersey, have been afforded places on the elite list assembled by American political magazine Politico.

Sir Angus, a professor of economics and international affairs, was awarded the $900,000 dollar Nobel Prize for Economics last year, presented to him by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden at a ceremony in Stockholm.

The 70-year-old, not to be confused with former TV presenter Angus Deayton, was born in Edinburgh and attended the city’s James Gillespie’s Boys School before he moved with his family to Bowden, near Melrose, as a child.

Together with his sister Mairi, he was a pupil at Newtown St Boswells Primary School before passing the old 11-plus examination, leading to a daily journey to Hawick High School for the next two years.

In his Nobel autobiography, Sir Angus, knighted earlier this year, wrote of his father’s long-held wish that he should attend Fettes College in Edinburgh, one of Scotland’s premier educational establishments.

At that time, the family could not afford it, but the autobiography reveals: “It turned out that Fettes admitted two foundation scholars a year, and several teachers at Hawick donated their time to train me for the competitive examination.

“They must have done this out of dedication to teaching. Certainly, my father had no money to pay them.

“I worked very hard over many months, becoming quite sick at the time of the exams, but won one of the scholarships.”

The Politico listing – the latest in a long line of accolades bestowed on the academic – followed publication of a paper in which Sir Angus and his wife researched data from national surveys and discovered that from 1999 to 2013, death rates increased for white non-Hispanic middle-aged Americans, particularly those without college degrees.

The paper described a quiet epidemic plaguing middle-aged white Americans.

The Deatons argued that it could not just be a matter of wage stagnation hurting this class of US society.

The data also pointed to an upturn in what they called “deaths of despair” – increases in mortality due to suicide, alcohol and drug use, particularly heroin and prescription opioids, and related diseases, including liver problems and cirrhosis.

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