The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel

For Angus Deaton - awarded the Prize in Economic Sciences 2015 - fly fishing has helped him think in new and creative ways

© Nobel Media. Photo: Alexander Mahmoud

About the prize

In 1968, Sveriges Riksbank (Sweden’s central bank) established the Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, founder of the Nobel Prize. The Prize is based on a donation received by the Nobel Foundation in 1968 from Sveriges Riksbank on the occasion of the Bank’s 300th anniversary. The first Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded to Ragnar Frisch and Jan Tinbergen in 1969.

The Prize in Economic Sciences is awarded by The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden, according to the same principles as for the Nobel Prizes that have been awarded since 1901.

See all economic sciences laureates or learn about the nomination process.

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The Prize in Economic Sciences 2020

This year’s Laureates, Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson, have studied how auctions work. They have also used their insights to design new auction formats for goods and services that are difficult to sell in a traditional way, such as radio frequencies. Their discoveries have benefitted sellers, buyers and taxpayers around the world.

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© Johan Jarnestad/The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2020 to Paul R. Milgrom and Robert B. Wilson “for improvements to auction theory and inventions of new auction formats”.

The new auction formats are a beautiful example of how basic research can subsequently generate inventions that benefit society. The unusual feature of this example is that the same people developed the theory and the practical applications. The Laureates’ ground-breaking research about auctions has thus been of great benefit, for buyers, sellers and society as a whole.

The 2020 Laureates in Economic Sciences

© Nobel Media. Ill. Niklas Elmehed.

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Angus Deaton employed theory, data collection and statistics together to see how consumption, poverty, and welfare are related. His conclusion? We need to understand individual consumption choices before we can design economic policy that promotes welfare and reduces poverty.

Angus Deaton visiting the Vasa Museum during the Nobel week in Stockholm.

Angus Deaton visiting the Vasa Museum in Stockholm during Nobel Week.

© Nobel Media. Photo: Pi Frisk

Watch this interview with Dr. John Nash, who received the Prize in Economic Sciences in 1994. He talks about the impact the prize has had on his life, his talent for mathematics as a child and about the movie about his life, ‘A Beautiful Mind’.

John F. Nash Jr.

John F. Nash Jr., awarded the 1994 Prize in Economic Sciences.

Photo: Nobel Foundation archive

Read how ‘innumerable contracts’ hold modern economies together. The recipients of the 2016 Prize in Economic Sciences created theoretical tools for understanding real-life contracts and institutions, as well as potential pitfalls in contract design.

Bengt Holmström and Oliver Hart autograph a chair

Oliver Hart (left) and Bengt Holmström autograph a chair at the Nobel Museum.

Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

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