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Detroit-born economist Paul Milgrom wins Nobel Prize in economic sciences

Detroit-born economist Paul Milgrom wins Nobel Prize in economic sciences

It was in the middle of the night and the Nobel Prize committee couldn’t reach their 2020 economic sciences winner, Detroit-born professor Paul R. Milgrom. 



a screenshot of a computer screen: Winners of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel for 2020 at a press conference in Stockholm, Monday Oct. 12, 2020. Americans Paul R. Milgrom, left, and Robert B. Wilson have won the Nobel Prize in economics for "improvements to auction theory and inventions of new auction formats."


© Anders Wiklund/TT via AP
Winners of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel for 2020 at a press conference in Stockholm, Monday Oct. 12, 2020. Americans Paul R. Milgrom, left, and Robert B. Wilson have won the Nobel Prize in economics for “improvements to auction theory and inventions of new auction formats.”

Luckily, Milgrom’s co-winner is also his neighbor.

According to Stanford University, where the winning duo currently teaches, Robert B. Wilson trekked to Milgrom’s house in the middle of the night, knocking incessantly to tell him the good news. 

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You can watch that moment, and the Michigan-raised winner’s stunned reaction, below.

Milgrom was born in Detroit in 1948. He graduated Oak Park High School and went on to complete his bachelor’s degree in mathematics at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

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He and Wilson won for their improvements to auction theory and inventions of new auction formats. According to the Nobel Prize, “(t)heir discoveries have benefitted sellers, buyers, and taxpayers around the world.”

So…what is auction theory? 

People are usually selling things to the highest bigger and buy from the cheapest offer. But the price of an auctioned object — whether it is an art or an antique — changes wildly from auction to auction, the Nobel Prize release explained. 

Milgrom and Wilson studied how auctions work, which is difficult because there are so much factors to take in, especially the bidder’s behavior. They focused on things that are a little harder to auction, like securities, minerals and energy. 

Wilson’s theory

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