Leonid Hurwicz

Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences (jointly)

Professor Leonid Hurwicz was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2007, jointly with Eric Maskin and Roger Myerson for having laid the foundations of mechanism design theory.

Mechanism design theory was initiated by Leonid Hurwicz and further developed by Eric Maskin and Roger Myerson, has greatly enhanced our understanding of the properties of optimal allocation mechanisms in such situations, accounting for individuals' incentives and private information. The theory allows us to distinguish situations in which markets work well from those in which they do not. It has helped economists identify efficient trading mechanisms, regulation schemes and voting procedures. Today, mechanism design theory plays a central role in many areas of economics and parts of political science.

Leonid Hurwicz is Regents' Professor of Economics (Emeritus) at the University of Minnesota. He is among the first economists to recognize the value of game theory and is a pioneer in its application. Hurwicz studied for a PhD at LSE in 1938, entitled 'The Currency Devaluation with Special Reference to the Experience of the Gold Bloc Countries'. His studies were interrupted by the war in the summer of 1939, after which he studied for a while at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva before moving to the United States in 1940.