The Nobel Prize

2012 Alvin E. Roth (b. 1951)


Al Roth is the George Gund Professor of Economics and Business Administration in the Department of Economics at Harvard University, and in the Harvard Business School. His research, teaching, and consulting interests are in game theory, experimental economics, and market design. The best known of the markets he has designed (or, in this case, redesigned) is the National Resident Matching Program, through which approximately twenty thousand doctors a year find their first employment as residents at American hospitals. He has recently been involved in the reorganization of the market for Gastroenterology fellows, which started using a clearinghouse in 2006 for positions beginning in 2007. He helped design the high school matching system used in New York City to match approximately ninety thousand students to high schools each year, starting with students entering high school in the Fall of 2004. He helped redesign the matching system used in Boston Public Schools, adopted for students starting school in September 2006. He is one of the founders and designers of the New England Program for Kidney Exchange, for incompatible patient-donor pairs. He is the chair of the American Economic Association's Ad Hoc Committee on the Job Market, which has designed a number of recent changes in the market for new Ph.D. economists. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Econometric Society, and has been a Guggenheim and Sloan fellow. He received his Ph.D at Stanford University, and came to Harvard from the University of Pittsburgh, where he was the Andrew Mellon Professor of Economics.
Finding Stable Matches

How to bring different players together in the best possible way is a key economic problem. Examples of situations where this problem arises include matching children with different schools, and kidneys or other organs with patients who require transplants. From the 1960s onward, Lloyd Shapley used what is known as Cooperative Game Theory to study different matching methods. Within the framework of this theory, it is especially important that a stable match is found. A stable match entails that there are no two agents who would prefer one another over their current counterparts. In collaboration with other researchers, Shapley has succeeded in identifying methods that achieve this stability. 


Beginning in the 1980s, Alvin Roth used Shapley's theoretical results to explain how markets function in practice. Through empirical studies and lab experiments, Roth and his colleagues demonstrated that stability was critical to successful matching methods. Roth has also developed systems for matching doctors with hospitals, school pupils with schools, and organ donors with patients.
Books
  1. Roth, A. E., and M. Sotomayor. Two-Sided Matching: A Study in Game-Theoretic Modeling and Analysis. Paperback ed. Cambridge University Press, 1992. (Winner of Frederick W. Lanchester Prize Awarded for the best contribution to operations research and the management sciences published in English presented by Institute for Operations Research and the Management Science.)
  2. Holmstrom, Bengt, Paul Milgrom, and Alvin E Roth, eds. Game Theory in the Tradition of Bob Wilson. Berkeley, CA: Berkeley Electronic Press, 2002.

  3. Kagel, J. H., and A. E. Roth, eds. Handbook of Experimental Economics. Princeton University Press, 1997.
  4. Roth, A. E., and M. Sotomayor. Two-Sided Matching: A Study in Game-Theoretic Modeling and Analysis. Econometric Society Monographs. Cambridge University Press, 1990. (Winner of Frederick W. Lanchester Prize Awarded for the best contribution to operations research and the management sciences published in English presented by Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.)
  5. Roth, A. E., ed. The Shapley Value: Essays in Honor of Lloyd S. Shapley. Cambridge University Press, 1988.
  6. Roth, A. E., ed. Laboratory Experimentation in Economics: Six Points of View. Cambridge University Press, 1987.
  7. Roth, A. E., ed. Game-Theoretic Models of Bargaining. Cambridge University Press, 1985.
  8. Roth, A. E. Axiomatic Models of Bargaining. Lecture Notes in Economics and Mathematical Systems. Springer-Verlag, 1979.

Awards
Awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Economics with Lloyd Shapley for their research on market design and matching theory.
Winner of the 1990 Lanchester Prize for Two-Sided Matching: A Study in Game-Theoretic Modeling and Analysis(with M. Sotomayor, Cambridge University Press - both the paperback edition in 1992 and the 1990 edition).



Post a Comment