Paul R. Milgrom and Robert B. Wilson were awarded the Nobel in economic science on Monday for improvements to auction theory and inventions of new auction formats.
Why did they win?
Auctions help to sell a variety of products, including art, minerals and advertising on the internet. Mr. Wilson developed a theory for auctions of items with a common value, explaining why bidders will offer less than they think the object or service is worth because they are afraid of overpaying — the winner’s curse. Mr. Milgrom came up with a theory in which private values vary from bidder to bidder in an auction.
Why is the work important?
Mr. Wilson and Mr. Milgrom have invented new formats for auctioning off many related objects at the same time — formats that have been used by governments to sell radio frequency.
The pair “started out with fundamental theory and later used their results in practical applications, which have spread globally. Their discoveries are of great benefit to society,” Peter Fredriksson, chairman of the prize committee, said in a release accompanying the announcement.
Who are the winners?
Mr. Milgrom was born in 1948 in Detroit. He was educated at Stanford University, where he received a doctorate in 1979 and where he is now a professor.
Mr. Wilson was born in 1937 in Geneva, Neb., educated at Harvard University, and is now a professor emeritus at Stanford.
Who won last year’s economics prize?
Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, both of M.I.T., and Michael Kremer of Harvard were honored for more than 20 years of economic research to develop new ways to study — and help — the world’s poor. Read more about them here.
Who are this year’s other Nobel Prize laureates?
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, announced on Monday in Sweden, was awarded to three scientists for their work discovering the hepatitis C virus. Read more about the winners, Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M. Rice.
Half of the Nobel Prize in Physics, announced on Tuesday in Sweden, was awarded to Roger Penrose for showing how black holes could form, and the other half went to Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez for discovering a supermassive object at the Milky Way’s center. Read more about the winners.
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was announced on Wednesday in Sweden. Read more about the winners, Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna, who developed the Crispr tool, which can change the DNA of animals, plants and microorganisms with high precision.
The Nobel Prizes in Literature was announced on Thursday in Sweden. Read about the recipient, Louise Glück, one of America’s most celebrated poets.
The World Food Program, a United Nations agency, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for its efforts to combat hunger globally and lay the foundations for peace in nations devastated by war. The organization was recognized for its work during a coronavirus pandemic that has “contributed to a strong upsurge in the number of victims of hunger in the world.”