Born: 9 October 1948, London, United Kingdom
Affiliation at the time of the award: Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
Prize motivation: "for their contributions to contract theory"
Prize share: 1/2
Oliver Hart was born in London, Great Britain. He studied mathematics at Cambridge University, economics at the University of Warwick and received his PhD at Princeton University, New Jersey, in 1974. He has been affiliated to several universities, including Cambridge University, London School of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, where he has been working since 1993. Oliver Hart is married to Rita Goldberg, a literature professor, and they have two children.
Contracts play a fundamental role in society and the economy. They can protect against uncertainty and contribute to cooperation. Oliver Hart has developed theories on contracts. In the mid-1980s, he contributed to the theory of incomplete contracts. Since it is not possible to specify every eventuality in a contract, the right to make decisions under different circumstances should be assigned in an optimal manner. These analyses have been significant for, among other things, governance of companies and the design of laws and institutions.