Oliver E. Williamson
The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2009
Born: 27 September 1932, Superior, WI, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA
Prize motivation: “for his analysis of economic governance, especially the boundaries of the firm”
Prize share: 1/2
Oliver Williamson was born in Superior, Wisconsin, in the United States. Although his parents were originally teachers, his father later started his own real estate company. After first studying at MIT and Stanford University, Williamson earned his PhD from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He has held professorships at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, at Yale University, and at the University of California, Berkeley, among others. Williamson is married with five children.
Financial transactions do not only occur on financial markets, but also within organizations—companies, associations, households, and public authorities. Financial analysis has most often focused on markets, whereas Oliver Williamson's research concentrates more on organizations. According to Williamson, markets and companies used different conflict resolution methods. In the early 1970s, Williamson proposed the theory that organizations are sometimes more efficient than markets because their conflicts are simple and cheaper to solve.
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