US scholars Alvin Roth and Lloyd Shapley won the Nobel Economics Prize on Monday for research on how to match different agents as well as possible, the Nobel jury said.
The two were honoured for “the theory of stable allocations and the practice of market design,” it said.
Their work can be used to help match donors of human organs with patients in need of a transplant, or students with universities, or Internet search engines that auction out space for advertisers.
The pair worked independently of each other but “the success of their research is due to the combination of Shapley’s theoretical results with Roth’s insights into their practical value,” the committee said.
Roth, 60, is a professor at Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts, while Shapley, 89, is a professor emeritus at the University of California.
The two laureates will receive the prize, consisting of a Nobel diploma, a gold medal and 8.0 million Swedish kronor ($1.2 million, 921,000 euros), at a ceremony in Stockholm on December 10, the anniversary of Swedish industrialist and prize creator Alfred Nobel’s death.
Last year, the prize went to US researchers Thomas Sargent and Christopher Sims for research on the causal relationship between economic policy and different macroeconomic variables, such as GDP, inflation, employment and investments.
Monday’s economics prize wraps up the 2012 Nobel season.
Last week, the Nobel Peace Prize, perhaps the most-watched of the Nobels, was awarded to the European Union for bringing more than half a century of peace to a continent ripped apart by two world wars, a choice met by both praise and ridicule.
The awarding of the Nobel Literature Prize to Chinese writer Mo Yan also sparked controversy, with Chinese dissidents accusing him of being a communist stooge.
The awards for medicine, physics and chemistry were also awarded last week.
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