JERUSALEM (JTA) — Both American economists who won the Nobel Prize for economics — Alvin Roth and Lloyd Shapley — have ties to Israeli universities.
The professors won the prize, called the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, for their research in how to make economic markets work better by more precisely matching supply with demand.
The news followed the announcement last week of two other Jewish Nobel winners.
Robert Lefkowitz, a physician and biochemist, won the Nobel Prize in chemistry with Brian Kobilka, a Stanford University researcher; and Serge Haroche, a French-Jewish physicist, was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics with David Wineland of the United States.
Shapley, 89, used game theory to study the problem. Roth, 60, helped redesign the medical residents’ match program to make it more efficient for young doctors.
Shapely was awarded an honorary doctorate from Hebrew University in 1986 and has worked with Israeli Nobel Prize laureate Robert Auman, who won his Nobel for his work with game theory.
Roth, who is Jewish, was a visiting professor of economics at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa in 1986, and a visiting professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University in 1995. Roth frequently visits Israel, said Auman.
(The 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry went to Dan Shechtman of Israel’s Technion.)
“I have been hoping for this for years,” Auman said of the award to Roth and Shapley. “It is absolutely the best choice that could be made.”
Roth is a professor at Harvard University in Boston, but will be leaving for Stanford University, where he is currently a visiting professor of economics, at the end of the year. Shapley is professor emeritus at the University of California, Los Angeles.