Nobel winner Bengt Holmstrom has strong ties to Stanford

Holmstrom
Nobel Prize winner Bengt Holmstrom while he was a visiting scholar at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.

BENGT HOLMSTROM, one of the winners of this year’s Nobel prize in economics, is a Stanford graduate, was a visiting professor of research here and spent a year at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) collaborating with faculty while conducting his own research.

Holmstrom, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, shares the Nobel with Harvard’s Oliver Hart for their theoretical work on contracts. Holmstrom’s research focused on the designs of workplace contracts.

Holmstrom earned his master’s degree from Stanford in 1975. Three years later, he earned his PhD from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where ROBERT WILSON — the Adams Distinguished Professor of Management, Emeritus — was his adviser.

Holmstrom was a visiting professor of research at Stanford between 1985 and 1986. In 2010, he was at SIEPR as the Wolfson Distinguished Visiting Professor.

“Based on the year he spent with us at SIEPR, I can state that the honor is well deserved,” said JOHN SHOVEN, professor of economics and the institute’s director during Holmstrom’s visit. “Bengt has done path-breaking work in the area of incentive-compatible executive compensation.”

At MIT, Holmstrom served as doctoral dissertation advisor to JONATHAN LEVIN, dean of the Graduate School of Business.

“Every economist in the profession has enormous respect for the standard Bengt Holmstrom and Oliver Hart set as scholars and as people,” Levin said. “I was fortunate to have Bengt as my PhD supervisor and continue to look up to his profoundly influential work on contract theory.”

Read more on the SIEPR website.