Nobel Prize-winning economist to speak on Oct. 3

Eric Maskin

Eric Maskin

BLACKSBURG, Va., Oct. 2, 2009 – Nobel Prize winning economist Eric Maskin, professor of social science at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, will present "Mechanism Design: How to Implement Social Goals," on Saturday, Oct. 3 at 2 p.m. in Pamplin Hall Room 1045 on the Virginia Tech campus.

Maskin's presentation is in celebration of the 90th birthday of James M. Buchanan Jr., University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Economics and Philosophy. The presentation is free and open to the public. A reception will follow. The event is sponsored by the Department of Economics in the university's College of Science.

Buchanan is founder of the public choice theory in economics and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1986. In bestowing the prize, the Nobel Prize committee recognized Buchanan "for his development of the contractual and constitutional bases for the theory of economic and political decision-making."

Public choice theory in economics refers to the use of modern economic tools to study problems that are traditionally in the area of political science. Buchanan's work initiated research on how politicians’ self-interest and non-economic forces affect government economic policy.

Buchanan was born Oct. 3, 1919, in Murfreesboro, Tenn. He earned a bachelor's degree at Middle Tennessee State College, a master's degree from the University of Tennessee, and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. In addition to Virginia Tech, Buchanan has taught at the University of Tennessee, Florida State University, the University of Virginia, UCLA, and George Mason University. His work includes extensive writings on public finance, the public debt, voting, macroeconomics, and libertarian theory. While maintaining close ties with the Economics Department at Virginia Tech, Buchanan serves as the Advisory General Director for The James Buchanan Center for Political Economy at George Mason University.

Maskin is a native of New York City, attended Harvard College, and earned a Ph.D. in applied mathematics from Harvard University. He is probably best known for his work on the theory of mechanism design for which he shared the 2007 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics. He has made significant contributions to many other areas of economics and game theory as well, including repeated games, the theory of income inequality, the study of intellectual property rights, and political economy.

Free parking is available around the Drillfield with a visitor's pass from 5 p.m.-8 p.m. No pass is necessary on the Drillfield after 8 p.m. or on weekends. Parking is also available in Perry Street Lot 1, 3, 4 and 6 near Prices Fork Road. Find more parking information online or call (540) 231-3200.