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US trio wins Nobel Economics Prize

Leonid Hurwicz, Eric Maskin and Roger Myerson win the 2007 Nobel Economics Prize for their work on how to design solutions for complex economic and social tasks.

world Updated: Oct 15, 2007 19:46 IST

US trio Leonid Hurwicz, Eric Maskin and Roger Myerson won the 2007 Nobel Economics Prize on Monday for their pioneering work on how to design solutions for complex economic and social tasks.

The Nobel jury said the three took the prize in light of their work on Mechanism Design theory, a sub-field of economics, which aims to ensure the most efficient use of resources in search of desired ends.

The theory, initiated by Hurwicz and further developed by Maskin and Myerson "has helped economists identify efficient trading mechanisms, regulation schemes and voting procedures," the jury said.

The theory, for example, can help identify which mechanisms will realise the largest gains from trade, maximize a seller's expected gain or provide an insurance scheme which provides the best coverage without inviting misuse.

Hurwicz, born in Moscow, is Regents' Professor of Economics Emeritus at the University of Minnesota and in 1990 won the US National Medal of Science in Behavioural and Social Science for his pioneering work in mechanism design.

Maskin is professor of Social Science at Princeton University and Myerson professor of Economics at Chicago University.
Last year, the economics prize went to Edmund Phelps of the United States for his work on how overall economic policy affected welfare for present and future generations.

This year's laureates will receive a gold medal, a diploma and 10 million Swedish kronor ($1.53 million, 1.08 million euros), to be shared between them.

The formal prize ceremony will be held in Stockholm as tradition dictates on December 10, the anniversary of the death in 1896 of the prize's creator, Swedish industrialist and inventor of dynamite Alfred Nobel.

The Nobel prizes were first awarded in 1901 after Nobel bequeathed his fortune to the creation of the prizes in his 1895 will.

The economics prize is the only one not originally mentioned in the will being created by the Swedish Central Bank to mark its tercentenary in 1968. It was first awarded in 1969 and is also funded by the bank.

The economics prize wraps up this year's Nobels after medicine, physics, chemistry, literature and peace. On Friday, the peace prize went to former US vice president Al Gore and the UN's top climate panel for their efforts to combat global warming.

British writer Doris Lessing won the literature prize for five decades of epic novels that have covered feminism and politics.

The physics prize went to Peter Gruenberg of Germany and Albert Fert of France for a discovery that led to the miniaturised hard disk, an essential component in modern-day computers.

Gerhard Ertl of Germany took the chemistry prize while medicine went to Mario Capecchi and Oliver Smithies of the United States and Martin Evans of Britain for their work on creating genetically manipulated mice that replicate human diseases.