Eric Maskin
Maskin in 2009
Born (1950-12-12) December 12, 1950 (age 73)
New York City, U.S.
EducationHarvard University (BA, MA, PhD)
Academic career
InstitutionHarvard University
Institute for Advanced Study
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Princeton University
University of Cambridge
FieldGame theory
Kenneth Arrow
Abhijit Banerjee
Drew Fudenberg[1]
Robert W. Vishny[2]
Mathias Dewatripont
David S. Scharfstein
Jean Tirole
ContributionsMechanism design
AwardsNobel Memorial Prize (2007)
Information at IDEAS / RePEc
Academic background
ThesisSocial choice on restricted domains (1976)

Eric Stark Maskin (born December 12, 1950) is an American economist and mathematician. He was jointly awarded the 2007 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with Leonid Hurwicz and Roger Myerson "for having laid the foundations of mechanism design theory".[3] He is the Adams University Professor and Professor of Economics and Mathematics 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.[4]

Early life and education

Maskin was born in New York City on December 12, 1950, into a Jewish family, and spent his youth in Alpine, New Jersey. He graduated from Tenafly High School in Tenafly, New Jersey, in 1968.[5] In 1972, he graduated with A.B. in mathematics from Harvard College. In 1974, he earned A.M. in applied mathematics and in 1976 earned a Ph.D. in applied mathematics, both at Harvard University. In 1975–76, he was a visiting student at Darwin College, Cambridge University.

Career and topics

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. In 1987, he was a visiting fellow at St John's College, Cambridge. In 2000, 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.[6] In 2010, he was conferred an honorary doctoral degree in economics from The University of Cambodia.[7] In 2011, Maskin returned to Harvard as the Adams University Professor and professor of economics and mathematics.[8]

Maskin has worked in diverse areas of economic theory, such as game theory, the economics of incentives, and contract theory. He is particularly known for his papers on mechanism design/implementation theory and dynamic games. With Jean Tirole, he advanced the concept of Markov perfect equilibrium. His research projects include comparing different electoral rules, examining the causes of inequality, and studying coalition formation.

Maskin is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences,[9] Econometric Society,[10] and the European Economic Association,[11] and a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy.[12] He was president of the Econometric Society in 2003.[13]

In 2014, Maskin was appointed as a visiting professor at Covenant University, Nigeria.[14]

In September 2017, Maskin received the title of HEC Paris Honoris Causa Professor.[15][16] He also served on the Social Sciences jury for the Infosys Prize in 2018.

Furthermore, he is the chairman of the advisory board of the International Economics Olympiad.[17]

Along with Ned Foley, he has proposed the use of Baldwin's voting method, under the name "Total Vote Runoff", as a way to fix problems with the instant-runoff method ("Ranked Choice Voting") in U.S. jurisdictions that use it, ensuring majority support of the winner and electing more broadly-acceptable candidates.[18][19][20][21]

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.[22]

See also


  1. ^ Fudenberg, Drew (1981), Strategic behavior in economic rivalry. Ph.D. dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  2. ^ Vishny, Robert W. (1985). Informational aspects of securities markets (Ph.D.). MIT. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  3. ^ "The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2007" (Press release). Nobel Foundation. October 15, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-15.
  4. ^ Economics professor wins Nobel – The Daily Princetonian Archived October 17, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Minutes of Library Board Meeting Archived 2008-06-26 at the Wayback Machine, Tenafly Public Library, dated October 15, 2007. Accessed January 22, 2008.
  6. ^ "The 23rd Jerusalem School in Economic Theory - Intertemporal Public Economics | the Institute for Advanced Studies".
  7. ^ "Welcome to The University of Cambodia (UC)". Retrieved 2018-05-07.
  8. ^ Gautam S. Kumar and Julia L. Ryan. Economics Nobel Laureate Eric Maskin Returning to Harvard. Harvard Crimson, Oct 25 2011
  9. ^ "Eric Stark Maskin". American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 2021-03-24.
  10. ^ "Fellows | The Econometric Society". Retrieved 2021-03-24.
  11. ^ "Fellows | EEA". Retrieved 2021-03-24.
  12. ^ "Professor Eric Maskin FBA". The British Academy. Retrieved 2021-03-24.
  13. ^ "Past Presidents | The Econometric Society". Retrieved 2021-03-24.
  14. ^ Alabi, Mojeed (16 July 2014). "Nobel laureate joins Covenant varsity". New Telegraph. Lagos, Nigeria. Archived from the original on 11 August 2014.
  15. ^ Paris, HEC. "Nobel Prize Eric MASKIN Conference on "Improving French and American presidential elections"". HEC Paris. Retrieved 2018-04-02.
  17. ^ "Governing bodies". International Economics Olympiad.
  18. ^ Foley, Edward B.; Maskin, Eric S. (November 1, 2022). "Alaska's ranked-choice voting is flawed. But there's an easy fix". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2022-11-09. the way Alaska uses ranked-choice voting also caused the defeat of Begich, whom most Alaska voters preferred to Democrat Mary Peltola … A candidate popular only with the party's base would be eliminated early in a Total Vote Runoff, leaving a more broadly popular Republican to compete against a Democrat.
  19. ^ Foley, Ned (November 1, 2022). ""Total Vote Runoff" tweak to Ranked Choice Voting". Election Law Blog. Retrieved 2022-11-09. a small but significant adjustment to the "instant runoff" method
  20. ^ Foley, Ned (November 8, 2022). "An Additional Detail about "Total Vote Runoff"". Election Law Blog. Retrieved 2022-11-09.
  21. ^ Foley, Ned (10 November 2022). ""Total Vote Runoff" & Baldwin's method". Election Law Blog. Retrieved 2022-11-20.
  22. ^ Bessen, J.; Maskin, E. (2009). "Sequential innovation, patents, and imitation" (PDF). The RAND Journal of Economics. 40 (4): 611. doi:10.1111/j.1756-2171.2009.00081.x.