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University of Chicago professor wins Nobel economics prize

Monday, October 15, 2007

A University of Chicago professor has won one of the most prestigious awards in the world, a Nobel prize.

This is the 80th Nobel Prize for the University of Chicago, which is the highest number for any institution. Professor Roger Myerson has been at U of C for six years but was honored for work he did while he was at Northwestern University.

The Harvard-educated 56-year-old joined Minnesota's Leonid Hurwicz and Princeton's Eric Maskin for the award. Judges say the trio's work helps explain situations in which markets work well.

When ABC7 caught up with Myerson Monday morning he was all smiles.

"This is a very, very good day. And I suppose it is the best of all," he said.

University of Chicago economics Professor Roger Myerson got the phone call of his life at 5:30 Monday morning, a call from Stockholm, Sweden, telling him he had won the Nobel Prize in economic sciences.

"Honored and recognized. I really had no idea I was going to be cited and called this morning by these people. I was pretty optimistic that some people who were working in my area would be honored by them in the next couple of years," said Myerson.

"Just thrilled. As was I. It's just amazing and thrilling. We're very pleased they selected him," said Gina Myerson, Roger's wife.

Myerson was recognized along with two other American economists for their work on mechanism design theory, which allows for better communication between governments and businesses that are negotiating a deal.

"The hard part is getting people an incentive to share information, such as when two people are bargaining over a price in the transaction. The seller wants to get a high price. The buyer wants a low price. Each has incentives to exaggerate. That's a problem," Myerson said.

Got it?

Well, the professor admits it is not always easy to explain his complicated theory in an easy manner.

He will now split the $1.5 million prize with the other two researchers, which means he will be taking home $500,000. He says he may be an economist but he has no idea what he is going to do with that money.

The Myersons live with their children in the northern suburb of Wilmette.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report. Copyright 2007. All Rights Reserved.)

(Copyright ©2014 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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