Vernon L. Smith


Vernon L. Smith

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Vernon L. Smith
The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2002

Born: 1 January 1927, Wichita, KS, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA

Prize motivation: “for having established laboratory experiments as a tool in empirical economic analysis, especially in the study of alternative market mechanisms”

Prize share: 1/2


Vernon Smith was born in Wichita, Kansas, USA. He received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at Caltech in 1949, an M.A. in economics from the University of Kansas, and a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University in 1955. Much of the research that earned Smith the Prize in Economic Sciences was conducted at the University of Arizona between 1976 and 2001.


Vernon Smith has laid the foundation for the field of experimental economics. He has developed an array of experimental methods, setting standards for what constitutes a reliable laboratory experiment in economics. In his own experimental work, he has demonstrated the importance of alternative market institutions, e.g., how the revenue expected by a seller depends on the choice of auction method.

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