Leonid Hurwicz at 90 is the oldest recipient of a Noble Prize in its history. Hurwicz is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. He was born in 1917 in Moscow and graduated from Law at the University of Warsaw in 1938. When World War II commenced, Hurwicz escaped to Switzerland and later to the U.S. Being Jewish, Hurwicz knows that if he had stayed in Poland “I would have probably been one of the victims of Auschwitz.”
Hurwicz’s research over the decades has had an influence on mathematical programming and video games theory as well as an influence in econometrics. According to the Academy the three winners “studied how game theory can help determine the best, most efficient method for allocating resources.”The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences reports the mechanism design theory is valid not only in economics but also in politics. It is applied to negotiations in labor relations as well as helping to explain decision-making procedures involved in economic transactions including, taxation and the shares market and the auctioning of government bonds. It also applies to insurance policies and how such policies will provide the best cover without being taken advantage of.
The biggest attribute of the research however is that it helps companies as well as countries better understand why certain markets are successful and can function even if the circumstances are difficult.Eric Maskin, 56, is professor at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, New Jersey. Roger Myerson, 56, is a professor at the University of Chicago in Illinois. Both continued with the research first taken up by Hurwicz in the 1960s. Although the economics award is not one of the original Nobel Prizes, it has been hugely prestigious since it was created in 1968. It was created by the Swedish central bank in Nobel’s memory.
In recent years the prize has been dominated by Americans. The last non-American to win the Prize was Robert Mundell in 1999, a Canadian.Winners of the Nobel Prize receive $1.5 mln, as well as a gold medal and a diploma. The diploma is presented on the 10th of December by the Swedish king, marking the anniversary of Nobel’s death in 1896.