Nobel Award: Mechanism Design

Lynne Kiesling

Mechanism design is the topic awarded this year’s economics Nobel, with the award going to Leonid Hurwicz, Eric Maskin, and Roger Myerson (two Northwestern connections there!). Mechanism design was the bread and butter of my graduate training, and has led to some important insights with respect to incentives, contract design, and market design.


4 thoughts on “Nobel Award: Mechanism Design

  1. PRESS RELEASE:

    Cambridge University Press congratulates Leonid Hurwicz, winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize in Economics.

    Hurwicz is Professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota, and received the prize for his work initiating mechanism design theory. He has been a Press author for nearly 50 years.

    The Press now publishes the work of 21 of the total 60 Nobel Laureates in Economics.

  2. I’m not sure why, but the Washington Post headline for the story, “3 U.S. Economists Share Nobel for Work on Flawed Markets”, annoys me. I guess it is the “glass half empty” implication.

    I tend to think of mechanism design as about finding ways to facilitate coordination and achieve gains from trade in cases in which otherwise such gains would be unobtained. I.e. it is about how to reach more than half full, not per se about all the reasons the glass is less the perfectly full in the first place.

    Perhaps if newspapers would adopt the implicit goal of omniscience, cast every case in which they fail to attain perfect knowledge as “Journalism Failures,” and believe that government provision of news is the proper response to each Journalism Failure….

    The initial New York Times story also seemed sloppy to me in this way, calling the work of the three to be about market failure. Today’s story in the Times does a better job:

    “The Nobel in economic science was awarded to three American economists for creating and developing a sophisticated explanation of the interaction among individuals, markets and institutions.”

  3. I’m not sure why, but the Washington Post headline for the story, “3 U.S. Economists Share Nobel for Work on Flawed Markets”, annoys me. I guess it is the “glass half empty” implication.

    I tend to think of mechanism design as about finding ways to facilitate coordination and achieve gains from trade in cases in which otherwise such gains would be unobtained. I.e. it is about how to reach more than half full, not per se about all the reasons the glass is less the perfectly full in the first place.

    Perhaps if newspapers would adopt the implicit goal of omniscience, cast every case in which they fail to attain perfect knowledge as “Journalism Failures,” and believe that government provision of news is the proper response to each Journalism Failure….

    The initial New York Times story also seemed sloppy to me in this way, calling the work of the three to be about market failure. Today’s story in the Times does a better job:

    “The Nobel in economic science was awarded to three American economists for creating and developing a sophisticated explanation of the interaction among individuals, markets and institutions.”

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