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Two Americans win Nobel for work on matching different economic agents

STOCKHOLM -- U.S. economists Alvin Roth and Lloyd Shapley won the 2012 economics Nobel prize on Monday for research on how to match different economic agents such as students for schools or even organ donors with patients.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which made the award, said the 8 million crown ($1.2 million) prize recognized "the theory of stable allocations and the practice of market design."


The economics prize, officially called the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, was established in 1968. It was not part of the original group of awards set out in dynamite tycoon Nobel's 1895 will.

“This year’s prize concerns a central economic problem: how to match different agents as well as possible," the academy said, according to The Associated Press.

Shapley made early theoretical contributions to the field of study, and Roth took it further by applying it to the market for U.S. doctors, the AP said.

"Even though these two researchers worked independently of one another, the combination of Shapley’s basic theory and Roth’s empirical investigations, experiments and practical design has generated a flourishing field of research and improved the performance of many markets," the academy added.

Shapley, 89, is a professor emeritus at the University of California, Los Angeles. Roth, 60, is a professor at Harvard.

Last year’s economics prize went to U.S. economists Thomas Sargent and Christopher Sims for describing the cause-and-effect relationship between the economy and government policy.

The 2012 Nobel Prizes in medicine, physics, chemistry and literature and the Nobel Peace Prize were announced last week. All awards will be handed out on Dec. 10, the anniversary of Nobel’s death in 1896.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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