Nobel Prize in Economics Awarded to Harvard Professor Oliver Hart, an Analysis Group Affiliate
October 14, 2016
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2016 to Dr. Oliver Hart, the Andrew E. Furer Professor of Economics at Harvard University. Dr. Hart, an Analysis Group Affiliate, shares the award with Dr. Bengt Holmström, the Paul A. Samuelson Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for their contributions to contract theory.
Dr. Hart is a leading expert in contract theory, the theory of the firm, corporate finance, and corporate governance. His research centers on the roles that ownership structure and contractual arrangements play in the governance and boundaries of corporations. 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.”
Dr. Hart is affiliated with the Program on Corporate Governance at Harvard Law School's John M. Olin Center for Law, Economics, and Business. In addition to his work on incomplete contracts, Dr. Hart 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. He has consulted and provided expert testimony on tax disputes in which he has evaluated the business purpose and economic substance of special purpose entities, and he has provided guidance on damages and the broader economic consequences associated with breaches of contract.
Dr. 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. He is also a past president of the American Law and Economics Association and past vice president of the American Economic Association.