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Two Americans Win Nobel Economics Prize

  • VOA News

 Lloyd Shapley, one of two Americans who were awarded the Nobel economics prize, is photographed at his home in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles, October 15, 2012.

Lloyd Shapley, one of two Americans who were awarded the Nobel economics prize, is photographed at his home in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles, October 15, 2012.

Two American economists have won this year's Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics for their work in designing market institutions that match different parties within the market as efficiently as possible.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm said Monday it awarded the prize to Alvin Roth, an economics professor at Harvard University, and Lloyd Shapley, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles [UCLA].

The 89-year-old Shapley conducted early theoretical studies of matching methods in the 1950s and 1960s. He developed a formula of how 10 men and 10 women could be coupled so that no two of them would prefer each other over their current partners.

Alvin Roth takes a phone call after being awarded the Nobel economics prize, at his home in Menlo Park, California, October 15, 2012.

Alvin Roth takes a phone call after being awarded the Nobel economics prize, at his home in Menlo Park, California, October 15, 2012.

More recently, in the 1990s, the academy said the 60-year-old Roth used Shapley's research to redesign existing instructions for matching new doctors with hospitals, students with schools, and organ donors with patients.

It said the two Americans, who work independently of one another, will share the $1.2 million prize for an "outstanding example of economic engineering."


2012 Nobel Prize in Economics

Lloyd Shapley
  • Born in 1923 in Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Earned Ph.D. in 1953 from Princeton University
  • Professor at University of California, Los Angeles
  • Used cooperative game theory to study and compare different matching methods

Alvin Roth
  • Born in 1951 in the United States
  • Earned Ph.D. in 1974 from Stanford University
  • Professor of Economics and Business Administration at Harvard
  • Demonstrated that stability is the key to understanding the success of particular market institutions
The economics prize was not part of the original group of awards established in the will of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, also known for inventing dynamite. The Swedish central bank created the annual prize in 1968 in Nobel's memory.

The 2012 Nobel Peace Prize - and those in medicine, physics, chemistry and literature - were announced last week. All awards will be handed out on December 10, the anniversary of Nobel's death in 1896.

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