Alvin E. Roth, Lloyd Shapley ’44 Share Nobel Prize in Economics

A faculty member and an alumnus are recognized for work on the design of markets and matching theory.

Lloyd Shapley

Alvin E. Roth and Lloyd Shapley '44 were awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science on Monday. The work for which they were recognized focuses on the design of markets and matching theory: how people and companies find one another and make selections. Roth, a prominent experimental economist with a background in operations research, applied these theories in programs for matching new M.D.s with hospitals for their postgraduate residency placements, and for connecting kidney donors to patients requiring transplants. “It seems natural that we ought to fix markets when they’re broken,” he told Harvard Magazine in 2008. Read his blogs here and here.

Roth, currently Gund professor of economics and business administration, with dual appointments in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Harvard Business School, is currently listed as on leave at HBS and as a visiting professor at Stanford, and no longer appears in the economics department directory; he has accepted a new appointment at Stanford, as reported last June by the Chronicle of Higher Education (where fellow Harvard economics colleagues Susan C. Athey and her husband, Guido W. Imbens, also relocated over the summer). A 1974 Stanford Ph.D., Roth  joined the Harvard faculties in 1998. His Stanford appointment date recently changed from this past September to this coming January 1, when he will become professor of economics there.

Shapley is professor of mathematics and economics emeritus at UCLA. Born in Cambridge, a son of astronomer Harlow Shapley, he was enrolled in Harvard College when he was drafted into military service in 1943, according to an online biography; he returned to the College after the war and graduated with a degree in mathematics in 1948, and then earned his doctorate at Princeton in 1953. He joined the UCLA faculty in 1981. Shapley is known as a leader in the field of game theory.

Read more about Roth and Shapley in the Harvard Gazette. 

And read about David Wineland, Ph.D. ’70, and Serge Haroche, co-winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics.


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