Past Faculty

Eric S. Maskin

School of Social Science
Social Science

From the Nobel Foundation:

While in England, he got caught up in a problem inspired by the work of another new friend, Leo Hurwicz (Ken [Kenneth Arrow] had introduced Maskin to him at Stanford): under what circumstance is it possible to design a mechanism (that is, a procedure or game) that implements a given social goal (formally, a social choice rule)? After struggling with that question for most of the year, he finally realized that monotonicity (now sometimes called "Maskin monotonicity") was the key: if a social choice rule doesn't satisfy monotonicity, then it is not implementable; and if it does satisfy this property it is implementable provided no veto power, a weak requirement, also holds. The proof of the latter finding was constructive, that is, he showed how one can explicitly design an implementing mechanism. But the mechanism was fairly cumbersome, and so he was most grateful to Karl Vind, his discussant at that summer's Econometric Society meeting in Paris, who suggested a nice simplification. Maskin wrote up the full details of his results in the paper "Nash Equilibrium and Welfare Optimality" during his first term as an assistant professor at MIT that fall. But he didn't actually publish the paper for another twenty years: there seemed little point, since it was already well known in its working paper form.

"Eric S. Maskin: Biographical," Nobel Foundation (2007)

Nobel Laureate, The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, 2007

Dates at IAS
  • Social Science
1/20126/2012 Spring
  • Social Science
Harvard University Ph.D., 1976
Harvard University A.M., 1974
Harvard University A.B., 1972
Harvard University Centennial Medal 2010
Member, National Academy of Sciences 2008
Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences 2007
Eric Kempe Award 2007
Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences 1994
Harvard University 1985–2000 Professor (Louis Berkman Professor of Economics 1997–2000)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1977–1984 Professor (full Professor from 1981)
Jesus College, University of Cambridge 1976–1977 Research Fellow