American economists Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson have been awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in economics for their contributions to auction theory, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said on Monday.

Paul Milgrom wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera: Left: Paul R. Milgrom, Right: Robert B. Wilson:

© Stanford Graduate School of Business
Left: Paul R. Milgrom, Right: Robert B. Wilson:

Milgrom and Wilson, who are both professors at Stanford University in California, were recognized for theoretical discoveries that improved how auctions work. According to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, they also designed auction formats for goods and services that are difficult to sell in a traditional way, such as radio frequencies.

“This year’s Laureates in Economic Sciences started out with fundamental theory and later used their results in practical applications, which have spread globally. Their discoveries are of great benefit to society,” Peter Fredriksson, chair of the prize committee, said in a statement.

According to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the economists invented new formats for auctioning many interrelated objects on behalf of a seller motivated by doing good for society rather than simply achieving the highest price possible.

In 1994, US authorities first used one of their formats to sell bands of radio spectrum. Doing so helped ensure that taxpayers were benefiting from the sale of radio frequencies that were owned by the government but of enormous value to mobile network operators.

The prize for economics is officially known as the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences. It was established by Sweden’s central bank and has been awarded since 1969 in memory of industrialist Alfred Nobel.

Milgrom and Wilson will share 10 million Swedish kroner ($1.1 million) in prize money.

In 2019, the economics prize was awarded to Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer for their work to alleviate global poverty. Duflo, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,

Oct 12 (Reuters)U.S. economists Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson won the 2020 Nobel Economics Prize for improvements to auction theory and inventions of new auction formats, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said on Monday.

“The new auction formats are a beautiful example of how basic research can subsequently generate inventions that benefit society,” the academy said in a statement.

“Auctions are everywhere and affect our everyday lives. This year’s Economic Sciences Laureates, Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson, have improved auction theory and invented new auction formats, benefiting sellers, buyers and taxpayers around the world,” the Nobel Prize’s official website tweeted.

New auction formats have been used for radio spectra, fishing quotas, aircraft landing slots and emissions allowances.

The economics prize, won by such luminaries as Paul Krugman and Milton Friedman in the past, was the final of the six awards in 2020, a year in which the Nobels have been overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The traditional gala winners’ dinner in December has been cancelled and other parts of the celebrations are being held digitally to avoid the risk of spreading the infection.

The 10-million-Swedish-crown ($1.14 million) economics prize is not one of the original five awards created in the 1895 will of industrialist and dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel, but was established by Sweden’s central bank and first awarded in 1969.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee plans to go ahead with an award ceremony, albeit in a reduced format due to the coronavirus pandemic, in Oslo on Dec. 10, the anniversary of the death of Alfred Nobel.

(Reporting by Simon Johnson Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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The Finance Debate will be livestreamed on Stuff from 7pm tonight.

Tonight, the two men vying to be finance minister after October 17 will face off in the Stuff Finance Debate.

In ordinary times, the debate would be important enough: each side would give their accounts of debt, economic growth and deficits: but there would usually be surpluses either here in the present, or on the not-so-distant horizon. Covid-19 has changes that completely.

Now the real debate will be about which major party – and which potential minister – has the plan to grow New Zealand out of what will be a long coronavirus slump.

The Finance Debate will stream live on Stuff tonight.


The Finance Debate will stream live on Stuff tonight.

* Election 2020: Grant Robertson and Paul Goldsmith have plenty to prove in Stuff Finance Debate
* Election 2020: National tries to deal itself in, but Jacinda Ardern has all the momentum
* Tax cuts at a cost in Paul Goldsmith’s mother of alternative budgets

Given the lockdown smashed economic growth to the tune of 12.2 per cent in the last quarter – much less than expected – the economy will grow, and we will be officially out of recession next quarter.

But the overall size of the economy will have contracted.

International tourism is clearly the worst-hit sector and won’t be coming back any time soon to what it was before. If a travel bubble with Australia opens in, for example, in the next six months, that will help. But there are big questions about that.

More generally, the debate will likely focus on which plan to rebuild and stimulate the economy Kiwis are more comfortable with.

The original centrepiece of Labour’s plan – which was basically backed by all parties in Parliament – was the wage subsidy. As that runs out,