Princeton alumnus Hart awarded Nobel Prize in economic sciences

Oct. 10, 2016 11:30 a.m.

Oliver Hart, a 1974 Princeton graduate alumnus and a professor at Harvard University, is one of the recipients of the 2016 Nobel Prize in economic sciences for contributions to contract theory. Hart shared the award, announced Monday, Oct. 10, with Bengt Holmström of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Hart and Holmström were recognized for creating "theoretical tools valuable to the understanding of real-life contracts and institutions, as well as potential pitfalls in contract design," according to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which awards the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. In particular, Hart has made fundamental contributions to a new branch of contract theory that deals with incomplete contracts, addressing which party to a contract should make decisions under what circumstances.

Hart, who was born in London, earned his bachelor's degree in mathematics from Cambridge University in 1969 and his master's degree in economics from Warwick University before pursuing his Ph.D. in economics at Princeton. He has taught at Harvard since 1993. He served as a member of the advisory council of Princeton's Department of Economics from 1989 to 1997.

Hart is a Fellow of the Econometric Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the British Academy, and the American Finance Association, and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He has been president of the American Law and Economics Association and a vice president of the American Economic Association.