01 Dec 2012
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Alvin Roth Wins Nobel Prize in Economics


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In October, Alvin Roth, a member of the School's Negotiation, Organizations & Markets (NOM) Unit and Harvard University's Department of Economics, was named co-winner, with UCLA professor emeritus Lloyd Shapley, of the 2012 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. The men were recognized for their contributions to solving a core economic problem—how to match different agents as well as possible.

"Al started the field of market design, showing that many types of markets were much more efficient if they were designed well rather than allowed to evolve naturally," explained Roth's colleague, Albert H. Gordon Professor of Business Administration Brian Hall, head of the NOM Unit. "Among his many contributions, Al conducted research that was crucial in showing how a kidney exchange system could be created to help match kidney donors with recipients. Al is one of the few economists who can point to real people whose lives have been saved by his work."

Roth, who joined the HBS faculty in 1998, also designed the nationwide match system that places medical school graduates in hospital residence positions, as well as systems in several US cities that pair pupils with public high schools. "This is an extraordinary and well-deserved honor for Al," said Dean Nitin Nohria. "In the best tradition of HBS, Al has applied his expertise to solve difficult and important real-world problems." Roth, the George Gund Professor of Economics and Business Administration, is currently on leave of absence from Harvard and HBS and is teaching at Stanford University, whose faculty he will join full-time later this month.

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