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October 15, 2012 1:44 pm

Jewish-American Economist is One of Two Americans to Win Nobel Prize

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Alvin Roth. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Jewish-American economist Alvin Roth and his American colleague Lloyd Shapley were awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science on Monday for their work on market design and matching theory.

Their groundbreaking work, which primarily focuses on markets that do not have prices, enables people and companies to find and select one another in everything from marriage to school choice to jobs to organ donations.

Roth, who is 60, is a professor at Harvard University and currently a visiting professor at Stanford, while Shapley, who is 89, is a professor emeritus at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).

Both laureates have strong academic ties to Israel. Roth was a visiting professor Technion Insitute in Haifa and Hebrew University, while Shapley received an honorary doctorate from Hebrew University and has worked closely with Israeli Nobel Prize Laureate Robert Auman.

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David Warsh, who follows academic economists on his Economic Principals blog, told Haaretz that Roth’s work has revolutionized the way organs are matched to patients. Before Roth, he said, “there were no economists in that business at all. He’s really changed it, and saved a lot of lives.”

The 8 million Swedish kronor ($1.2 million) award will be given out by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in December.

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