MIT has another Nobel star to celebrate! Oliver E. Williamson ’55, a Sloan School of Management undergraduate, was named a co-winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economics Oct 12. MIT alumni, faculty, and staff have now claimed 75 Nobel Prizes–24 were awarded since 2000.
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences lauded “his analysis of economic governance, especially the boundaries of the firm.” Williamson’s work describes how varying organizational structures for markets and institutions affect economic activity. He is credited with co-founding New Institutional Economics, which emphasizes the importance of formal institutions as well as informal institutions such as social norms, and how they affect transaction costs, according to the Haas School of Business at UCBerkeley where he is a professor emeritus. He earned an MBA from Stanford University in 1960 and a PhD from Carnegie Mellon University in 1963. He is the author of the most frequently cited work in social science research, The Economic Institutions of Capitalism: Firms, Markets, Relational Contracting.
After a sleepy, 4 a.m. start, Williamson describes his work in a brief phone interview with the Nobel Prize Web site editor.
You can also watch the 2008 Nobel Prize lecture by that year’s economics winner, Paul Krugman PhD ’77.