Nobel Pride

The impact of a Nobel Prize a decade on

Oliver Williamson looks to someone off camera and smiles.Ten years after winning the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, Oliver Williamson’s groundbreaking work continues to resonate. Williamson, Haas prof. emeritus, earned the prize “for his analysis of economic governance, especially the boundaries of the firm.”

Simply put, those boundaries refer to when a firm decides whether to outsource a process, service, or manufacturing function or to perform it in-house.

Prof. David Teece says Williamson changed the way people think about business organization and industrial structure. “His impact was particularly strong with respect to the understanding of vertical integration: How and when to make outsourcing decisions and how to design robust contracts were central to his framework,” Teece says. “Today, as we consider issues relating to big tech, his work is the place to start thinking about the public policy issues at hand.”

To commemorate Williamson’s contributions to economics and to PhD students, an anonymous donor has agreed to match donations to the Oliver E. Williamson PhD Fellowship 4 to 1, up to $400K. Donors of $1K or more receive a limited-edition challenge coin.

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