Congratulations, Al !

“Economics is about real life …”

Today Alvin Roth got what he deserved. Which is nothing less than the Nobel Prize. Not bad for a guy who does not have a master’s degree in economics, not even a Ph.D. in economics (but in operations research).

Al is an applied economic theorist and a well known experimentalist who has published dozens of brilliant papers in all of the top academic journals. Together with John Kagel, Al edited the first Handbook of Experimental Economics that was really accessible to rookies like me.

Al has a huge talent of bringing cutting-edge theory and useful practical applications together.  His fields of specialization are matching markets and the design of markets in general. Whereas in many circumstances we can expect markets to clear, specially designed matching schemes may be needed when markets are “thin” and “congested” or information is asymmetric. How this works? Please ask Al, watch his lecture (link below) or read what nobelprize.org has summarized.

I am very proud to have been introduced to experimental economics by Al in 1996. When I conducted my first experiments in a room close to his office at the University of Pittsburgh, he was sneaking around to see if everything was going well. He, indeed, is a very caring person with a great sense of humor.

Al has the lousiest webpage that I know in terms of layout (aside from my own…). However, it provides a wealth of useful information on game theory and experimental economics.

All those who would like to see Al lecturing should follow this Link (Rosenthal Lecture 2007, you may skip the intro and start watching at 08:10 minutes). It’s a brilliant talk about the topics of matching and congestion in the cases of kidney exchange, school choice, and markets for new economists and doctors.

What is typical about Al?

He is an extremely bright, warm and modest person. Just read the last section of his short interview with nobelprize.org

Interviewer: …How are you going to celebrate today, if you get a chance?

Al Roth: Well, pretty soon I’m going to have a cup of coffee.

And Al knows how to cook fresh salmon on the grill. Always delicious…! One very nice piece of advice Al gave me:

«Don’t attribute to malice what can easily be attributed to stupidity.» — I try to remember that when dealing with all kinds of people…


Am 10. Dezember war die Verleihung des Nobelpreises in Stockholm. Die Übergabe durch den schwedischen König an Al Roth und Lloyd Shapley ist im Video ab 1:16 zu sehen.
Ein wahrlich historischer Moment, denn niemals zuvor hat Al ein solches Kleidungsstück getragen…

[...] man Alvin Roth bei seiner Definition „economics is what people do“, so wird klar, dass sich Ökonomen den [...]

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