Skip to navigationSkip to content

Nobel Prize in Economics awarded for matching kidneys to donors and students to schools

Zachary M. Seward
By Zachary M. Seward

Chief executive officer

This article is more than 2 years old.
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Alvin Roth and Lloyd Shapley

The just-announced winners of the Nobel Prize in Economics are Alvin E. Roth of Harvard and Lloyd S. Shapley of UCLA, both game theorists who have broken ground on a highly practical problem: making pairs. Here’s the official explanation from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences:

This year’s Prize concerns a central economic problem: how to match different agents as well as possible. For example, students have to be matched with schools, and donors of human organs with patients in need of a transplant. How can such matching be accomplished as efficiently as possible? What methods are beneficial to what groups? The prize rewards two scholars who have answered these questions on a journey from abstract theory on stable allocations to practical design of market institutions.

It’s worth noting that Shapley holds his PhD in mathematics—not economics. That’s in line with a growing trend toward math in the field.

Roth is an active blogger. In an apparent coincidence, he posted yesterday about “the correlation between national chocolate consumption and per-capita Nobel prizes.” This morning he put up a short post:

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.