Carnegie Mellon University

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Alum Shares Nobel Prize

Oliver Williamson

Oliver Eaton Williamson (TPR'63), who earned his Ph.D. in economics at Carnegie Mellon University's Graduate School of Industrial Administration, now the Tepper School of Business, shares this year's Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.

A well-known author in the area of transaction cost economics, Williamson is currently the Edgar F. Kaiser Professor Emeritus of Business Economics and Law at the University of California, Berkeley.

"On behalf of Carnegie Mellon University, I congratulate Oliver Williamson on this great honor," said Carnegie Mellon President Jared Cohon. "We are always pleased to see our alumni succeed, and in this case Dr. Williamson has achieved international recognition at the highest level. His work in economic governance has been groundbreaking, and this Nobel is well deserved."

At Carnegie Mellon, Williamson developed focus for his research under the instruction of several academic pioneers who, during the 1960s, were revolutionizing the principles of accepted economic theory.

Williamson shares the Nobel Prize with Elinor Ostrom, the Arthur F. Bentley Professor of Political Science, and co-director of the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at Indiana University at Bloomington. According to the Nobel Prize Selection Committee, "Both laureates have profoundly enhanced our learning of economic governance."

The committee praised Williamson "for his analysis of economic governance, especially the boundaries of the firm."

Ada Yonath, a post-doctoral fellow at the Mellon Institute in 1969, was named one of three winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry this year. Yonath is known for generating X-ray crystallographic images of the ribosome structure as early as the 1970s, a task the Nobel committee said was then considered "impossible."

Williamson and Yonath join 16 other Nobel Prize winners with ties to Carnegie Mellon — most recently Ed Rubin, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize as a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change alongside former Vice President Al Gore. (Read about all of our Nobel Laureates.)

Carnegie Mellon University recently became one of only a few universities in the United States to display a gold Nobel Prize Medal — through a generous bequest from the late Professor John A. Pople, who won the 1998 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Related Links: Tepper School of Business  |  Carnegie Mellon's Nobel Laureates  |  Green Gold  |  Commentary by Kiron Skinner