Renowned economist and longtime Analysis Group Academic Affiliate Professor Oliver Hart is honored with the Nobel Prize.
Currently the Andrew E. Furer Professor of Economics at Harvard University, Professor Hart is a leading expert in contract theory, the theory of the firm, corporate finance, and corporate governance. He is affiliated with the Program on Corporate Governance at Harvard Law School’s John M. Olin Center for Law, Economics, and Business, and is a past president of the American Law and Economics Association.
In 2016, Professor Hart received one of the most prestigious awards in the field of economics – the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel given by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He and his co-winner, Dr. Bengt Holmström, the Paul A. Samuelson Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, were honored for their contributions to contract theory.
“[Dr. Hart’s] findings on incomplete contracts have shed new light on the ownership and control of businesses and have had a vast impact on several fields of economics, as well as political science and law.”
According to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, “The new theoretical tools created by [Dr.] Hart and [Dr.] Holmström are valuable to the understanding of real-life contracts and institutions, as well as potential pitfalls in contract design. … [Dr. Hart’s] findings on incomplete contracts have shed new light on the ownership and control of businesses and have had a vast impact on several fields of economics, as well as political science and law.”
Professor Hart’s research centers on the roles that ownership structure and contractual arrangements play in the governance and boundaries of corporations. He also researches bankruptcy proceedings and bankruptcy reform, with a focus on how to mitigate wasteful conflicts of interest that can arise among different claimant groups. Professor Hart has consulted and provided expert testimony on tax disputes in which he has evaluated the business purpose and economic substance of special purpose entities. In other matters, he has provided guidance on damages and the broader economic consequences associated with breaches of contract.
Professor Hart’s book, Firms, Contracts, and Financial Structure, is a leading reference in the field. He is a Fellow of the Econometric Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the British Academy, and the American Finance Association, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. ■