The award is given biennially to a researcher who has made “sustained significant academic contributions to institutional and organizational economics.” It is named for Indiana University political scientist Elinor Ostrom, who shared the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences with Berkeley Haas Professor Oliver Williamson.
Spiller is the Jeffrey A. Jacobs Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Business & Technology at the Haas School, as well as a UC Berkeley professor of graduate studies.
Spiller’s research lies at the intersection of economics, politics, and the law, and spans political economy, industrial organization, the economics of regulation and antitrust, and regulatory issues in developing countries. One research stream analyzed the hazards inherent to public contracting, and how it differs from private contracting. Spiller applied the approach to such areas as utility regulation, the organization of bureaucracies, and the inner workings of public companies.
In addition to his academic work, Spiller has consulted for the World Bank, the InterAmerican Bank, the UNDP and multiple governments and private companies throughout the world on the design and implementation of appropriate regulatory policies, contract design and implementation. He has also testified in numerous international arbitrations involving contract, regulatory and investment disputes. He is the former President of the International Society for New Institutional Economics (now SIOE).
Spiller served as the Editor-in-Chief and Associate Editor of the Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization for 19 years, and held multiple Editorial appointments at a variety of academic journals. On special leave from Berkeley, he served as a Special Advisor to the Bureau of Economics of the US Federal Trade Commission.