Lincoln High alum wins Nobel Prize in economics

A 1955 graduate of Lincoln High School has won the Nobel Prize in economics. 

Robert Wilson, a semi-retired Stanford University professor, shares the award with one of his former students, Paul Milgrom. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences made the announcement on Monday. They won the award, which brings with it a $1 million prize, for “improvements to auction theory and inventions of new auction formats.”

The Nobel committee said their work showed “why rational bidders tend to place bids below their own best estimate of the common value.” This can translate into an item selling for less than its worth or perhaps not to the bidder who wants it most - neither of which should happen if an auction is working as it should.

Wilson called the work that he and Milgrom did together “very exciting.” “I’m very happy to share this acknowledgment with him,” he said.

Wilson was born in Geneva, Neb., and spent most of his childhood in York before moving to Lincoln for his junior year of high school. He earned a scholarship to Harvard University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, a Master of Business Administration degree and a Doctor of Business Administration. He joined the Stanford Graduate School of Business faculty in 1964 and was inducted into the National Academy of Sciences in 1994.

Published: October 13, 2020, Updated: October 19, 2020

Photo courtesy of Stanford University