Eric Maskin

Last updated
Eric Maskin
05N3441 emaskin.jpg
Maskin in 2009
Born (1950-12-12) December 12, 1950 (age 70)
Nationality United States
Institution Harvard University
Institute for Advanced Study
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Princeton University
University of Cambridge
Field Game theory
Alma mater Harvard University
Kenneth Arrow
Abhijit Banerjee
Drew Fudenberg [1]
Robert W. Vishny [2]
Mathias Dewatripont
David S. Scharfstein
Jean Tirole
Contributions Mechanism design
Awards Nobel Memorial Prize (2007)
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

Eric Stark Maskin (born December 12, 1950) is an American economist and 2007 Nobel laureate recognized with Leonid Hurwicz and Roger Myerson "for having laid the foundations of mechanism design theory". [3] He is currently Adams University Professor and Professor of Economics and Mathematics at Harvard University.


Until 2011, he was the Albert O. Hirschman Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study, and a visiting lecturer with the rank of professor at Princeton University. [4]

Early life and education

Maskin was born in New York City on December 12, 1950, into a Jewish family, and spent his youth in Alpine, New Jersey. He graduated from Tenafly High School in Tenafly, New Jersey, in 1968. [5] In 1972, he graduated with A.B. in mathematics from Harvard College, the undergraduate liberal arts college of Harvard University. In 1974, he earned A.M. in applied mathematics and in 1976 earned a Ph.D. in applied mathematics, both at Harvard University.

In 1975-76, he was a visiting student at Darwin College, Cambridge University. In 1976, after earning his doctorate, Maskin became a research fellow at Jesus College, Cambridge University. In the following year, he joined the faculty at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1985 he returned to Harvard as the Louis Berkman Professor of Economics, where he remained until 2000. That year, he moved to the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. In addition to his position at the Princeton Institute, Maskin is the director of the Jerusalem Summer School in Economic Theory at The Institute for Advanced Studies at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. [6] In 2010, he was conferred an honorary doctoral degree in economics from The University of Cambodia. [7] In 2011, Maskin returned to Harvard as the Adams University Professor and professor of economics and mathematics. [8]

Maskin has worked in diverse areas of economic theory, such as game theory, the economics of incentives, and contract theory. He is particularly well known for his papers on mechanism design/implementation theory and dynamic games. His current research projects include comparing different electoral rules, examining the causes of inequality, and studying coalition formation. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences , Econometric Society , and the European Economic Association, and a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy . He was president of the Econometric Society in 2003.

In 2014, Maskin was appointed as a visiting professor at Covenant University, Nigeria. [9]

In September 2017, Maskin received the title of HEC Paris Honoris Causa Professor. [10] [11] He also served on the Social Sciences jury for the Infosys Prize in 2018.

Software patents

Maskin suggested that software patents inhibit innovation rather than stimulate progress. Software, semiconductor, and computer industries have been innovative despite historically weak patent protection, he argued. Innovation in those industries has been sequential and complementary, so competition can increase firms' future profits. In such a dynamic industry, "patent protection may reduce overall innovation and social welfare". A natural experiment occurred in the 1980s when patent protection was extended to software", wrote Maskin with co-author James Bessen. "Standard arguments would predict that R&D intensity and productivity should have increased among patenting firms. Consistent with our model, however, these increases did not occur". Other evidence supporting this model includes a distinctive pattern of cross-licensing and a positive relationship between rates of innovation and firm entry. [12]

See also

Related Research Articles

Kenneth Arrow American economist

Kenneth Joseph Arrow was an American economist, mathematician, writer, and political theorist. He was the joint winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with John Hicks in 1972.

Robert C. Merton

Robert Cox Merton is an American economist, Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences laureate, and professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, known for his pioneering contributions to continuous-time finance, especially the first continuous-time option pricing model, the Black–Scholes–Merton model. In 1993 Merton co-founded hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management.

W. Arthur Lewis Saint Lucian economist and Nobel laureate

Sir William Arthur Lewis was a Saint Lucian economist and the James Madison Professor of Political Economy at Princeton University. Lewis was known for his contributions in the field of economic development. In 1979 he was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

Lloyd Shapley American mathematician

Lloyd Stowell Shapley was an American mathematician and Nobel Prize-winning economist. He contributed to the fields of mathematical economics and especially game theory. Shapley is generally considered one of the most important contributors to the development of game theory since the work of von Neumann and Morgenstern. With Alvin E. Roth, Shapley won the 2012 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences "for the theory of stable allocations and the practice of market design."

Partha Dasgupta British economist (born 1942)

Sir Partha Sarathi Dasgupta, FRS, FBA, is an Indian-British economist who is the Frank Ramsey Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom; Fellow of St John's College, Cambridge, and Visiting Professor at the New College of the Humanities, London. He was born in Dhaka, and raised mainly in Varanasi, India, and is the son of the noted economist Amiya Kumar Dasgupta. He is married to Carol Dasgupta, who is a psychotherapist. His father-in-law was the Nobel Laureate James Meade.

Jean Tirole

Jean Tirole is a French professor of economics at Toulouse 1 Capitole University. He focuses on industrial organization, game theory, banking and finance, and economics and psychology. In 2014 he was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his analysis of market power and regulation.

Michael Robert Kremer is an American development economist and University Professor in economics and public policy at the University of Chicago. He is the founding director of the Development Innovation Lab at the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics. Kremer served as the Gates Professor of Developing Societies at Harvard University until 2020. In 2019, he was jointly awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, together with Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee, "for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty."

David Knudsen Levine is department of Economics and Robert Schuman Center for Advanced Study Joint Chair at the European University Institute; he is John H. Biggs Distinguished Professor of Economics Emeritus at Washington University in St. Louis. His research includes the study of intellectual property and endogenous growth in dynamic general equilibrium models, the endogenous formation of preferences, social norms and institutions, learning in games, and game theory applications to experimental economics.

Leonid Hurwicz

Leonid "Leo" Hurwicz was a Polish-American economist and mathematician, known for his work in game theory and mechanism design. He originated the concept of incentive compatibility, and showed how desired outcomes can be achieved by using incentive compatible mechanism design. Hurwicz shared the 2007 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his seminal work on mechanism design. Hurwicz was one of the oldest Nobel Laureates, having received the prize at the age of 90.

Roger Myerson American mathematician

Roger Bruce Myerson is an American economist and professor at the University of Chicago. He holds the title of the David L. Pearson Distinguished Service Professor of Global Conflict Studies at The Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts in the Harris School of Public Policy, the Griffin Department of Economics, and the College. Previously, he held the title The Glen A. Lloyd Distinguished Service Professor of Economics. In 2007, he was the winner of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel with Leonid Hurwicz and Eric Maskin for "having laid the foundations of mechanism design theory." He was elected a Member of the American Philosophical Society in 2019.

Barcelona Graduate School of Economics

The Barcelona Graduate School of Economics, commonly referred to as Barcelona GSE, is an independent institution of research and graduate education located in Barcelona, Spain. The School offers a variety of master's degrees in Economics, Finance, and Data Science. It has been ranked by RePEc among the top Economics Departments in the world.

Israel Institute for Advanced Studies

The Israel Institute for Advanced Studies is a research institute in Jerusalem, Israel, devoted to academic research in physics, mathematics, the life sciences, economics, and comparative religion. It is a self-governing body, both in its administrative function as well as its academic pursuits. It is one of the nine members of the symposium Some Institutes for Advanced Study (SIAS).

Toulouse School of Economics

The Toulouse School of Economics is a school within the Toulouse 1 University Capitole, a constituent college of the Federal University of Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées, located in Toulouse, France. While the core focus is economics, TSE offers a range of academic degrees spanning licences, several master's degrees and a doctoral (PhD) programme. Classes are taught in both French and English. Currently, the school has around 2400 students from over 90 nationalities and 150 full faculty members. According to RePEc, TSE was ranked as the 9th most productive research department of economics in the world and the 3rd in Europe by April 2019.

Arunava Sen

Arunava Sen is a Professor of Economics at the Indian Statistical Institute. He works on Game Theory, Social Choice Theory, Mechanism Design, Voting and Auctions.

Heller-Hurwicz Economics Institute

The Heller-Hurwicz Economics Institute was launched in 2010 in order to promote socioeconomic research.

James Bessen American economist

James Bessen is an economist who has been a Lecturer at Boston University School of Law since 2004, and was previously a software developer and CEO of a software company. Bessen was also a Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

Hervé Moulin is a French mathematician who is the Donald J. Robertson Chair of Economics at the Adam Smith Business School at the University of Glasgow. He is known for his research contributions in mathematical economics, in particular in the fields of mechanism design, social choice, game theory and fair division. He has written five books and over 100 peer-reviewed articles.

The Nancy L. Schwartz Memorial Lecture is a series of public lectures held every year by the Kellogg Department of Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences.

Princeton University Department of Economics

The Princeton University Department of Economics is an academic department of Princeton University, an Ivy League institution in Princeton, New Jersey. The department is one of the most premier institutions for the study of economics. It offers undergraduate A.B. degrees as well as graduate Ph.D. degrees. It is considered one of the "big five" schools in the field along with the faculties at the University of Chicago, Harvard University, Stanford University, and MIT. According to the 2018 U.S. News & World Report, the department ranks as No. 1 in the field of economics.

Leeat Yariv is the Uwe E. Reinhardt Professor of Economics at Princeton University, a Research Fellow of CEPR, and a Research Associate of NBER. She is the founder and director of the Princeton Experimental Laboratory for the Social Sciences (PExL). Yariv is a fellow of the Econometric Society and the Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory. She received her Ph.D. from Harvard University and has held positions at UCLA and Caltech prior to her move to Princeton in 2017. She has served on various journal editorial boards, including the American Economic Review, Econometrica, Games and Economic Behavior, Journal of Economic Literature, and Quantitative Economics.


  1. Fudenberg, Drew (1981), Strategic behavior in economic rivalry . Ph.D. dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  2. Vishny, Robert W. (1985). Informational aspects of securities markets (Ph.D.). MIT . Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  3. "The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2007" (Press release). Nobel Foundation. October 15, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-15.
  4. Economics professor wins Nobel – The Daily Princetonian Archived October 17, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  5. Minutes of Library Board Meeting Archived 2008-06-26 at the Wayback Machine , Tenafly Public Library, dated October 15, 2007. Accessed January 22, 2008.
  6. "The 23rd Jerusalem School in Economic Theory - Intertemporal Public Economics | the Institute for Advanced Studies".
  7. "Welcome to The University of Cambodia (UC)". Retrieved 2018-05-07.
  9. Alabi, Mojeed (16 July 2014). "Nobel laureate joins Covenant varsity". New Telegraph . Lagos, Nigeria. Archived from the original on 11 August 2014.
  10. Paris, HEC. "Nobel Prize Eric MASKIN Conference on "Improving French and American presidential elections"". HEC Paris. Retrieved 2018-04-02.
  12. Bessen, J.; Maskin, E. (2009). "Sequential innovation, patents, and imitation" (PDF). The RAND Journal of Economics. 40 (4): 611. doi:10.1111/j.1756-2171.2009.00081.x.
Preceded by
Edmund S. Phelps
Laureate of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics
Served alongside: Leonid Hurwicz, Roger B. Myerson
Succeeded by
Paul Krugman