Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.
A. Michael Spence
Born: 30 November 1942, Montclair, NJ, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA
Prize motivation: "for their analyses of markets with asymmetric information."
Contribution: Showed how the able agents may improve the market outcome by taking costly action to signal information to poorly informed recipients. An important example is education as a signal of high individual productivity in the labor market. It is not necessary for education to have intrinsic value. Costly investment in education as such signals high ability.
Prize share: 1/3
See the list of all Nobel Prizes, awarded for "the greatest benefit to mankind."
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Medicine Laureate Shinya Yamanaka talks about the importance of taking risks.