Americans Alvin Roth and Lloyd Shapley have been awarded the Nobel economics prize for their separate research on how to match different economic agents such as students with schools or even organ donors with patients.
While the prize is typically awarded for theoretical achievements, this year’s winners have designed systems that have been used in many different practical fields and have saved many lives in the field of medicine.
Economist Alvin Roth:
"Economics has, somehow, a reputation among some parts of the public as being boring, being about prices and statistics. But I've always thought of economics as being not just part of the social sciences but part of the humanities because it gives us a window into people's lives at some of the biggest crossing points. When they get in to schools and universities, when they get jobs, when they choose careers, when they get married. These are all matching markets. They're markets where you can't just choose what you want, but you also have to be chosen."
The economics award was created separately from the original Prizes by the Swedish central bank in 1969. Both prize-winners have strong academic ties to Israel, which is considered a world leader in game theory economics. Jew Alvin Roth was a visiting professor at the Technion Institute in Haifa in 1986 and he then returned in 1995 as a visiting professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University while Lloyd Shapely has an honorary doctorate from Hebrew University and in the past he worked with Israeli Nobel Prize Laureate Robert Auman.
Two other Nobel prizes for Physics and Chemistry were also won by Jews this year, continuing a distinguished tradition which has seen more than 20% of all prizes go to Jews since the awards began in 1901.