A Nobel for Organizational Economics?

10 October 2007 at 1:37 pm 5 comments

| Peter Klein |

The econo-blogosphere is atwitter in anticipation of Monday’s Nobel Prize announcement. (Yes, I know it’s the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, not a “real” Nobel, but who cares? The money spends just the same.) Mankiw, Cowen, Boettke, and other bloggers have made their recommendations and issued their forecasts. Even the sociologists are getting into the act

How about a prize for organizational economics? Coase, of course, whose 1937 paper is foundational to the field, has already won, as have Akerlof, Spence, Stiglitz, Mirrlees, Vickrey, Hayek, and others whose work has greatly informed the study of organizations. But, for a prize recognizing organizational economics per se, whom would you pick? Williamson, Holmström, Milgrom, Roberts, Hart, Tirole, Aghion? Perhaps Alchian, Demsetz, or Jensen. Maybe a personnel economist (Lazear) or someone in corporate finance or accounting (Bill Schwert, Stewart Myers, René Stulz, Raghuram Rajan, Cliff Smith, Milton Harris, Artur Raviv)? Suggestions?

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. LTPhillips  |  10 October 2007 at 2:55 pm

    Armen Alchian deserves the Prize, but will never receive it.

  • 2. Peter Klein  |  15 October 2007 at 8:59 am

    It’s Hurwicz, Maskin, and Myerson for mechanism design, which certainly has important implications for OE. If I’d put them on my list I’d be looking clever right now.

  • 3. Joe Mahoney  |  18 October 2007 at 11:00 am

    In some sense, the mechanism design literature was the starting point for the subsequent work in transaction costs economics and modern property rights.

    More specifically, TCE (explicitly) and modern property rights theory (implicitly) deal with the bounded rationality problem, in which case under uncertainty a complete contracting is not feasible. Thus, in the mechanism design literature there are no residual rights of control over assets to be allocated. TCE and property rights theory deal with ex post transactions costs. And, TCE goes more deeply into governance issues.

    Given that mechanism design scholars were awarded the prize this year, maybe the two Olivers (Williamson and Hart) for TCE and modern property rights theory will have their contributions recognized next year.

  • 4. dhoopes  |  18 October 2007 at 2:35 pm

    Demsetz! “Why Regulate Utilities?” What was the paper with Alchian?

  • 5. David G Hoopes  |  15 April 2012 at 3:27 pm

    To answer my own question, “Production, Information Costs and Economic Organization.”

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