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Eric Maskin

Eric Maskin
File:05N3441 emaskin.jpg
Born (1950-12-12) December 12, 1950 (age 65)
New York City, New York USA
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
Influenced Mathias Dewatripont
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".[1] He is the Adams University Professor 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.[2]


Maskin was born in New York City on December 12, 1950, and spent his youth in Alpine, New Jersey. He graduated from Tenafly High School in Tenafly, New Jersey, in 1968,[3] and attended Harvard University where he earned A.B.. He continued to earn a Ph.D. in applied mathematics at the same institution. 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.[4] In 2011, Maskin has returned to Harvard again.[5]

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.

Maskin is married to Gayle Sawtelle, a history lecturer, and has two children.[2] While they lived in Princeton, NJ, they occupied the former Albert Einstein residence.

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.[6]

See also


  1. ^ "The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2007" (Press release). Nobel Foundation. October 15, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-15. 
  2. ^ a b Economics professor wins Nobel – The Daily Princetonian
  3. ^ Minutes of Library Board Meeting, Tenafly Public Library, dated October 15, 2007. Accessed January 22, 2008.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Bessen, J.; Maskin, E. (2009). "Sequential innovation, patents, and imitation". The RAND Journal of Economics 40 (4): 611. doi:10.1111/j.1756-2171.2009.00081.x.  edit

External links

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