Eric Maskin

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Eric Maskin
05N3441 emaskin.jpg
Born (1950-12-12) December 12, 1950 (age 66)
New York City, New York USA
Nationality United States
Institution Harvard University
Institute for Advanced Study
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Princeton University
University of Cambridge
Field Game theory
Alma mater Harvard University
Kenneth Arrow
Jean Tirole
Drew Fudenberg[1]
Robert W. Vishny
Mathias Dewatripont
David S. Scharfstein
Abhijit Banerjee
Contributions Mechanism design
Awards Nobel Memorial Prize (2007)
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

Eric Stark Maskin (born December 12, 1950) is an American economist and 2007 Nobel laureate recognized with Leonid Hurwicz and Roger Myerson "for having laid the foundations of mechanism design theory".[2] He is the Adams University Professor 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.[3]


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,[4] and attended Harvard University, where he earned A.B.. He continued to earn a Ph.D. in applied mathematics at the same institution. In 1975-76, he was a visiting student at Darwin College, Cambridge University. 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. That year, 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.[5] In 2011, Maskin has returned to Harvard again.[6]

Maskin has worked in diverse areas of economic theory, such as game theory, the economics of incentives, and contract theory. He is particularly well known for his papers on mechanism design/implementation theory and dynamic games. His current research projects include comparing different electoral rules, examining the causes of inequality, and studying coalition formation. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Econometric Society, and the European Economic Association, and a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy. He was president of the Econometric Society in 2003.

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.[7]

See also


  1. ^ Fudenberg, Drew (1981), Strategic behavior in economic rivalry. Ph.D. dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  2. ^ "The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2007" (Press release). Nobel Foundation. October 15, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-15. 
  3. ^ Economics professor wins Nobel – The Daily Princetonian Archived October 17, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Minutes of Library Board Meeting Archived 2008-06-26 at the Wayback Machine., Tenafly Public Library, dated October 15, 2007. Accessed January 22, 2008.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Bessen, J.; Maskin, E. (2009). "Sequential innovation, patents, and imitation". The RAND Journal of Economics. 40 (4): 611. doi:10.1111/j.1756-2171.2009.00081.x. 

External links

  • Maskin Nobel Prize lecture
  • Profile in The Daily Princetonian
  • Tabarrok, Alex (2007-10-16). "What is Mechanism Design? Explaining the research that won the 2007 Nobel Prize in Economics.". Reason Magazine. Retrieved 2007-12-11. 
  • Videos of Eric Maskin speaking in plain English
    • Maskin, Eric Stark. "Prize Lecture by Eric S. Maskin." Nobel Media AB. Nobel Prize, 2007. Web. 27 Dec. 2015. <>. Eric S. Maskin delivered his Prize Lecture on 8 December 2007 at Aula Magna, Stockholm University. He was introduced by Professor Jörgen Weibull, Chairman of the Economics Prize Committee. Credits: Ladda Productions AB (camera). Copyright © Nobel Web AB 2007
    • Maskin, Eric Stark. "Eric Maskin - An Introduction to Mechanism Design - Warwick Economics Summit 2014." Warwick Economics Summit on YouTube. Warwick Economics Summit, 1 June 2014. Web. 27 Dec. 2015. <>. Professor Eric Maskin giving the keynote address on 'How to Make the Right Decisions without knowing People's Preferences: An Introduction to Mechanism Design' at the Warwick Economics Summit 2014.
    • Maskin, Eric Stark. "Eric Maskin - Introductory Lecture." The Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS) of Jerusalem on YouTube. The Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS) of Jerusalem, 24 June 2014. Web. 27 Dec. 2015. <>. Eric Maskin (Harvard University) - Introductory Lecture
    • Maskin, Eric Stark. "Eric Maskin: Mechanism Design: How to Implement Social Goals." UCI Media Services on YouTube. UCI Media Services, 22 Aug. 2014. Web. 27 Dec. 2015. <>. Eric Maskin, Professor, Dept. of Economics, Princeton University “Mechanism Design: How to Implement Social Goals”
    • Serious Science. "Mechanism Design Theory - Eric Maskin." Serious Science on YouTube., 23 Dec. 2013. Web. 27 Dec. 2015. <>.
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