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Nemmers Economics Prize Announced

French economist Jean Tirole recognized for contributions to economic theory

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February 27, 2014 | by Hilary Hurd Anyaso

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Jean Tirole, chairman of the Foundation Jean-Jacques Laffont/Toulouse School of Economics and scientific director of the Institute for Industrial Economics, University of Toulouse Capitole in France, is the recipient of the 2014 Erwin Plein Nemmers Prize in Economics.

The prize carries a $200,000 stipend, among the largest monetary awards in the United States for outstanding achievements in economics. The 2014 prize marks the 11th time Northwestern has awarded the prize. The Frederic Esser Nemmers Prize in Mathematics and the Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition will both be announced this spring.

The Nemmers prizes are given in recognition of major contributions to new knowledge or the development of significant new modes of analysis. Six out of the past 10 Nemmers economics prize winners have gone on to win a Nobel Prize. (Those who already have won a Nobel Prize are ineligible to receive a Nemmers prize.)

”The Nemmers Prize is a wonderful way to recognize an outstanding researcher and to bring that person to Northwestern to the benefit of our faculty, students and community,” said Northwestern Provost Daniel Linzer. “We are extremely pleased to honor Jean Tirole in this way.”

In connection with the award, Tirole will deliver a public lecture and participate in other scholarly activities at Northwestern during the 2014-15 academic year.

Jean Tirole

Tirole’s award of the 2014 Erwin Plein Nemmers Prize in Economics is “based on his various contributions to economic theory and its application to finance, industrial organization and behavioral economics.”

As one of the world’s leading economists, Tirole has been influential in the theoretical and practical application of game theory and information theory to industrial organization and regulation. His research interests also include finance, macroeconomics, international finance, economics and psychology.

Tirole also serves as chairman of the executive committee of the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST), which he helped found in 2011. He is an annual visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the department of economics, where he was a professor for eight years before moving to Toulouse in 1992.

Tirole has given more than 70 distinguished lectures and has published approximately 200 articles in economics and finance.

In 2013 Tirole and co-author Roland Bénabou’s article “Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation” was selected by The Review of Economic Studies as one of 11 most influential papers in the journal’s 80-year history. That same year, he also received the Stephen A. Ross Prize in Financial Economics, with colleague Bengt Holmström, for “Private and Public Supply of Liquidity” published in the Journal of Political Economy.

Tirole is the author of 11 books including “Inside and Outside Liquidity” with Bengt Holmström (2011); “The Theory of Industrial Organization” (1988); “Game Theory” with Drew Fudenberg (1991); “A Theory of Incentives in Regulation and Procurement” with Jean-Jacques Laffont (1993); and “The Theory of Corporate Finance” (2006), for which he received an honorable mention for Best Professional/Scholarly Book in Finance & Economics from the Association of American Publishers.

Tirole holds honorary doctorates from Université de Lausanne (2013); Hitotsubashi University (2013); the University of Rome 2 (2012); the Athens School of Business and Economics (2012); the University of Mannheim (2011); HEC Montreal (2007); the London Business School (2007); and the Free University in Brussels (1989).

Among other prizes and honors, Tirole received the Yrjö Jahnsson prize of the European Economic Association (granted every other year to an economist under the age of 45 who has made a contribution in theoretical and applied research that is significant to economics in Europe) in 1993, and the gold medal of the CNRS in 2007 (the second economist, after Allais in 1978, to receive this medal, attributed to one researcher every year since 1954). He was the inaugural winner of the BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Awards in economics, finance and management in 2008. He also received the CME Group -- Mathematical Sciences Research Institute Prize in Innovation Quantitative Applications and the Claude Levi-Strauss Prize for his significant contributions to the social sciences -- both in 2010.

He was president of the Econometric Society in 1998 and of the European Economic Association in 2001. Tirole is a foreign honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Economic Association.

Background on Nemmers prizes

The Nemmers prizes are made possible through bequests from the late Erwin Esser Nemmers, a former member of the Northwestern University faculty, and his brother, the late Frederic E. Nemmers, both of Milwaukee. The prizes are awarded every other year.

Erwin Nemmers, who persuaded his brother to join him in making a substantial contribution to Northwestern, served as a member of the faculty of the Kellogg School of Management from 1957 until his retirement in 1986. He and Frederic Nemmers were principals in a Milwaukee-based, family-owned, church music publishing house.

Their gifts, totaling $14 million, were designated by Erwin and Frederic Nemmers for the establishment of four endowed professorships in the Kellogg School of Management and the establishment of the Nemmers prizes.

Consistent with the terms of the Nemmers’ bequests, the Erwin Plein Nemmers Prize in Economics (named in honor of the Nemmers’ father) and the Frederic Esser Nemmers Prize in Mathematics (named by Erwin in honor of his brother) are designed to recognize “work of lasting significance” in the respective disciplines. Awarded for the first time in 2006, the Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Musical Composition also is awarded every other year, with a value of $100,000.

Previous Nemmers prize recipients in economics are Peter A. Diamond (1994), Thomas J. Sargent (1996), Robert J. Aumann (1998), Daniel L. McFadden (2000), Edward C. Prescott (2002), Ariel Rubinstein (2004), Lars Peter Hansen (2006), Paul R. Milgrom (2008), Elhanan Helpman (2010) and Daron Acemoglu (2012).

Previous Nemmers prize recipients in mathematics are Yuri I. Manin (1994), Joseph B. Keller (1996), John H. Conway (1998), Edward Witten (2000), Yakov G. Sinai (2002), Mikhael Gromov (2004), Robert P. Langlands (2006), Simon Donaldson (2008), Terence Chi-Shen Tao (2010) and Ingrid Daubechies (2012).

Previous Nemmers prize recipients in music are John Adams (2004), Oliver Knussen (2006), Kaija Saariaho (2008), John Luther Adams (2010) and Aaron Jay Kernis (2012).