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Paul Milgrom, Robert Wilson Win Nobel in Economics. Here's Everything to Know About the Prestigious Prize

Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson. (Twitter/Nobel Prize).

Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson. (Twitter/Nobel Prize).

The first ever Nobel prize was awarded a year after it was established in 1968. It was given to Dutch economist Jan Tinbergen and Norway's Ragner Frisch in 1969 "for having developed and applied dynamic models for the analysis of economic processes".

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Buzz Staff

US economists Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson won the 2020 Nobel Economics Prize for "improvements to auction theory and inventions of new auction formats". The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on Monday put out a statement and said, “The new auction formats are a beautiful example of how basic research can subsequently generate inventions that benefit society. Their discoveries have benefitted sellers, buyers and taxpayers around the world."

Professors at Stanford University in California, Milgrom and Wilson, were both awarded the prestigeous prize for their theoretical discoveries that helped to understand how auctions work. The duo, who are also neighbours apart from being collaborators, also designed auction formats for services such as radio frequencies.

Read More: Watch: US Economist Robert Wilson Wakes Co-Winner Up at 2 AM to Inform About Nobel Prize

What is the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences?

Termed officially as the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences, the prize is awarded under the Nobel Foundation. It was established in 1968 and came into being after a donation provided by Sweden's central bank Sveriges Riksbank to the foundation, thus the official name. Interestingly, the prize is technically not a Nobel prize as it was not set by Alfred Nobel in his will back in 1895. However, the foundation awards the prize along with the other Nobel prizes and the winners accept the prizes at the same Nobel ceremony. Despite not being endowed by Alfred Nobel originally, the nomination process, selection criteria of the prize are also similiar to that of the other prizes.

Who won the First Nobel in Economics?

The first ever Nobel prize was awarded a year after it was established in 1968. It was given to Dutch economist Jan Tinbergen and Norway's Ragner Frisch in 1969 "for having developed and applied dynamic models for the analysis of economic processes".

Women who won Nobel in Economics

Two women have till now received the prize in Economics. American economist Elinor Ostrom won the prize in 2009 for her "analysis of economic governance, especially the commons". She had shared the prize with Oliver E Williamson. Ostrom is the first of two women who has won the prize so far. The second is Esther Duflo who won the prize in 2019 alongside Abhijit Banerjee and Michael Kremer for "for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty".

Indians on the List

Indian economist Amartya Sen was the first Asian to be awarded the honour in the year 1998 "for his contributions to welfare economics." Sen has also contributed largely to social choice theory, economic and social justice, economic theories of famines, decision theory, development economics, public health, and measures of well-being of countries through his varied research work.

Indian-American economist Abhijit Banerjee is the second person of Indian origin to have received the prize in 2019. Banerjee shared the award with Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer "for their efforts to alleviate global poverty".

Controversy Around the Prize

The award has often been criticised by many, including Swedish human rights lawyer Peter Nobel, who is a great-grandnephew of Ludvig Nobel, founder Alfred Nobel's elder brother. Nobel has accused the foundation of using his family name to award the prize and had added that nobody in the family ever wanted a prize in economics. He had said, "Nobel despised people who cared more about profits than society's well-being and there is nothing to indicate that he would have wanted such a prize".

Read More: Paul Milgrom, Robert Wilson Win 2020 Nobel Economics Prize For Work On Auction Theory

“This year’s Laureates in Economic Sciences 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, chair of the Prize Committee said of the prize this year.


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