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Oct. 12: Nobel Prize in Economic Science Awarded to Oliver E. Williamson


Mark Burd

Nobel Prize in Economic Science Awarded to Oliver E. Williamson

Tepper School Ph.D. Alumnus Recognized for Analysis of Economic Governance

Oliver WilliamsonPITTSBURGH—Oliver E. Williamson, the Edgar F. Kaiser Professor Emeritus of Business Economics and Law at the University of California, Berkeley, and a Ph.D. Alumnus ('63) of Carnegie Mellon University's Graduate School of Industrial Administration, now the Tepper School of Business, has been honored as co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics. The 2009 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel was announced today by The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, Sweden.

"On behalf of Carnegie Mellon University, I congratulate Oliver Williamson on this great honor," Said Jared L. Cohon, president, Carnegie Mellon University. "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."

The Nobel Foundation announced that Williamson has selected for: "his analysis of economic governance, especially the boundaries of the firm." As co-recipient of this year's Prize, Elinor Ostrom, of Indiana University, has also been selected for: "her analysis of economic governance, especially for the commons."

"Williamson was truly a pioneer in recognizing the limits of markets and the limits of firms," said Chester Spatt, the Pamela R. and Kenneth B. Dunn Professor of Finance and director of the Center for Financial Markets at the Tepper School of Business. "He has made many contributions to the field of economics in determining the nature and boundary of firms and determining whether transactions are better mediated through markets or internally within a firm."

The Prize in Economic Sciences was created in 1968 by, Sveriges Riksbank, Sweden's central bank, memory of Alfred Nobel, founder of the Nobel Prize. It is awarded annually. Additional information on this prize can be found at

Since its creation, the Prize has also been awarded to six faculty members at Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business: Herbert A. Simon (1978), Franco Modigliani (1985), Merton H. Miller (1990), Robert E. Lucas, Jr. (1995), Finn E. Kydland (2004), and Edward C. Prescott (2004). Williamson and Ada Yonath, who shares this year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry, are the 17th and 18th Nobel Prize winners with ties to Carnegie Mellon.


Pictured above is Oliver E. Williamson.