April 25, 2006
Economist Paul Milgrom elected to National Academy of Sciences
By Lisa Trei
Paul R. Milgrom, the Shirley R. and Leonard W. Ely, Jr. Professor in Humanities and Sciences, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). He is among 72 new members and 18 foreign associates from 16 countries selected April 25 in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.
Established by a congressional act in 1863, NAS is a private organization of scientists and engineers whose 2,013 active members are dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare. Upon request, the academy advises the federal government on matters of science and technology.
Election to NAS is one of the highest honors that can be accorded a U.S. scientist or engineer. This year's election brings the number of Stanford scholars serving on the academy to 135.
Milgrom, a professor in the Department of Economics, is an expert in the study of auctions and pricing strategies. His research began with his 1978 doctoral dissertation, which he wrote under the supervision of Graduate School of Business Professor Emeritus Robert Wilson. Subsequently, Milgrom and Wilson collaborated to design the Federal Communications Commission spectrum auction, which has since been copied and adapted for dozens of auctions in electricity markets and other industries involving more than $100 billion worldwide. Auctions are examples of market processes used to allocate resources, and the study of these is fundamental to understanding when and how markets work well.
Milgrom also has made seminal contributions to auction theory. Two papers coauthored in 1982 with Robert J. Weber, a professor at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, have been the bases for successful initial empirical tests of auction theory that have since led to more theorizing and testing by other economists.
Photo of Paul Milgrom available at http://newsphotos.stanford.edu (slug: nasmilgrom).