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Nobel Prize Economist to Discuss Stable Allocations and Market Design

Friday, March 15, 2019
Alvin E. Roth head shot

Alvin E. Roth to present at Trinity’s Nobel Economist Lecture Series

by Danyal Tahseen ‘19

Alvin E. Roth is the co-recipient of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Economics along with his colleague, Lloyd S. Shapley. As part of Trinity University’s Nobel Economist Lecture Series, Roth will speak on Thursday, March 28, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. in the Stieren Theater, located in the Ruth Taylor Theater Building. Seating is on a first-come, first-seated basis; tickets or reservations are not required.

His free and public presentation is a continuation of Trinity’s ongoing Nobel Economist Lecture Series, “My Evolution as an Economist.” The series was started in 1984 by the late E.M. Stevens Distinguished Professor of Economics William Breit. The series brings some of the most brilliant and influential economists of the post-war era to campus.

The Nobel Prize in Economics recognized Roth’s outstanding contribution to answering the central economic question of how to efficiently match different agents within a system, such as matching organ donors with critically-ill patients, or matching students with schools and residency programs.

In his research, Roth and his colleague Shapley bridged abstract theory on stable allocations with practical design of market institutions. Following a series of empirical studies, Roth and his team realized the importance of stability in facilitating the success of particular market institutions. Roth built upon this empirical work with more systematic laboratory experiments. He demonstrated the practical utility of his findings by helping redesign existing institutions in place for matching new doctors with hospitals, students with schools, and organ donors with patients. These institutional refinements were informed by the Gale-Shapley algorithm, along with modifications that incorporate ethical and situational limitations, such as the preclusion of side payments. Roth’s work on responsive market design has remarkable significance in an economic landscape characterized by dynamic market conditions and changing consumer behaviors.

Roth graduated from Columbia University's School of Engineering and Applied Science in 1971 with a bachelor's degree in operations research. He then attended Stanford University, where he received both his master's degree and doctorate in operations research in 1973 and 1974, respectively. He served as the president of the American Economics Association in 2017. Roth is now the Craig and Susan McCaw Professor of Economics at Stanford University. He works in the areas of game theory, experimental economics, and market design, and he is particularly known for his focus on applying economic theory to solve real-world problems.

Roth has authored numerous books, scholarly articles, and other publications, the most recent being his 2015 book Who Gets What and Why. A collection of Roth's papers is housed at the Rubenstein Library at Duke University.

The Nobel Economist Lecture Series is sponsored by Trinity’s Department of Economics and made possible by the late Gen. Elbert DeCoursey and Mrs. Esther DeCoursey of San Antonio. The series offers rare autobiographical insights into each Nobel Laureate’s contributions, growth, and success as a scholar as well as the sources and nature of his or her ideas and discoveries. For more information, contact Trinity’s Economics Department at 210-999-7221.

Danyal Tahseen is a senior biology major and communication minor involved in Residential Life, chemistry research, and diversity initiatives on campus as former president of the Muslim Student Association and member of the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board. Danyal is preparing to attend medical school in Houston this fall.