He marries his wife Gill during his student years at Cambridge. They have two children and Gill dies in 1993.

Mirrlees joins a project in India, at the M.I.T. Center for International Studies (New Delhi).

He is offered a professorship in economics at the University of Oxford and accepts. There he develops work on nonlinear incentive relationships and income tax. During that time, he visits M.I.T. several times.

James A. Mirrlees is born in the small town of Minnigaff in Scotland.

James Mirrlees and William Vickrey share the 1996 Economics Nobel Prize for fundamental contributions to the economic theory of incentives under asymmetric information.

In 1954, he goes to Edinburgh University, skipping the first year and reading philosophy as well as maths.

In 1957, at the age of twenty-one, he leaves Scotland for Cambridge University. At Trinity College, he realizes that he wants to economics, because poverty in the so-called “underdeveloped countries” seems to him what really matters in the world.

In 1963, he takes up a teaching fellowship at Trinity College. He thinks increasingly about general welfare, and begins to explore optimal taxation, becoming an adviser to Britain’s Labour Party in the 1960s and 1970s.

Upon his return to Cambridge University, he gains his PhD in Economics.

He becomes a Professor of Political Economy at the University of Cambridge. He still works there and is knighted in 1998.

Mirrlees attends Primary School and High School in Newton Stewart. By the age of fourteen he is enthusiastic about mathematics, having acquired a book called Teach Yourself Calculus, and done so. His mathematics teacher gives him individual tuition, so he races ahead. When asked by the headmaster what he wants to do in life, he says he wants to be a professor of mathematics.

Mirrlees visits Yale University.

He visits the University of California, Berkeley.