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Leonid Hurwicz

Russian-American economist and mathematician

Leonid "Leo" Hurwicz (Polish pronunciation: [lɛˈɔɲit ˈxurvitʂ]; August 21, 1917 – June 24, 2008) was a Polish-American economist and mathematician, known for his work in game theory and mechanism design. He originated the concept of incentive compatibility, and showed how desired outcomes can be achieved by using incentive compatible mechanism design. Hurwicz shared the 2007 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (with Eric Maskin and Roger Myerson) for his seminal work on mechanism design. Hurwicz was the oldest economist to have become a Nobel Laureate, having received the prize at the age of 90. Hurwicz was educated and grew up in Poland, and became a refugee in the United States after Hitler invaded Poland in 1939. In 1941, Hurwicz worked as a research assistant for Paul Samuelson at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Oskar Lange at the University of Chicago. He was a research associate for the Cowles Commission between 1942 and 1946. In 1946 he became an associate professor of economics at Iowa State College. Hurwicz joined the University of Minnesota in 1951, becoming Curtis L. Carlson Regents Professor of Economics in 1989. He was Regents' Professor of Economics (Emeritus) at the University of Minnesota when he died in 2008. Hurwicz was among the first economists to recognize the value of game theory and was a pioneer in its application. Interactions of individuals and institutions, markets and trade are analyzed and understood today using the models Hurwicz developed.
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