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Nobel Prize-Winning Economist to Give Nemmers Prize Lecture

Jean Tirole, recipient of Northwestern’s Nemmers Prize, also to participate in conference

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Jean Tirole, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and recipient of Northwestern University’s 2014 Erwin Plein Nemmers Prize in Economics, will deliver the Nemmers Prize Lecture Wednesday, April 29, and participate in the Nemmers Prize Conference Thursday, April 30, and Friday, May 1, at Northwestern.

Both events will be held on the University’s Evanston campus in the McCormick Auditorium, James L. Allen Center, 2169 Campus Drive.

Tirole is chairman of the Foundation Jean-Jacques Laffont/Toulouse School of Economics and scientific director of the Institute for Industrial Economics, University of Toulouse Capitole in France.

Tirole’s lecture, “Moving Up a Demand Curve: Dynamic Screening with Positive Selection,” will begin at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 29. Sponsored by the department of economics in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and the Kellogg School of Management, the lecture is free and open to the public.

The conference, “Liquidity, Bubbles and Crises,” will begin at 9 a.m. Thursday, April 30, ending at 5 p.m. Friday, May 1. Registration is required.

See link for conference schedule and speakers:

One of the world’s leading economists, Tirole received one of the world’s most prestigious economics prizes from Northwestern in February 2014. He subsequently won the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel on Oct. 13, 2014.

In connection with the Nemmers Prize, Tirole participates in scholarly activities at Northwestern during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 academic years, including the aforementioned public lecture and conference, and also spoke at a recent panel discussion hosted by Kellogg School of Management entitled “Intellectual property -- the capital of the knowledge economy.”

Janice Eberly, James R. and Helen D. Russell Professor of Finance, organized the Kellogg policy event “to highlight both the impact and range of Jean’s work, and also the vitality of the economic policy and research community at Northwestern. Jean is a leader -- and also a complement to our faculty.”

Nemmers Prize Lecture

Tirole’s lecture will explore how the sellers and buyers of goods and services determine whom they should trade with.  

Many traditional economics models of demand assume “negative selection.” Negative selection occurs in many social interactions or markets. Players who benefit most from the relationship or trade tend to reach agreement quickly. Then, if there are still goods and services left to sell after the most motivated individuals have traded with each other, the price declines and concessions are made. 

In contrast there are also many interesting environments in which “positive selection” operates to select out over time the least motivated protagonists. This, in effect, means moving “up” rather than “down” the demand curve. The lecture will explore the economics of positive selection and compares them with the more familiar ones obtained for negative selection.

Nemmers Prize Conference

The “Great Recession” at the end of the last decade occurred after a period in which the prices of housing and financial assets rose considerably. The subsequent decline in the price of some of these assets caused failures of some financial institutions. The Nemmers conference entitled “Liquidity, Bubbles and Crises” will explore the lessons that we have learned. 

The conference includes nine papers presented by leading academics and two panel discussions: “Banking and Macroprudential Regulation,” held at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 30, and “The European Crisis and Sovereign Debt,” held at 2 p.m. Friday, May 1. The panelists include Mathias Dewatripont, a director of the National Bank of Belgium; Stanley Fischer, vice chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve System; Jeremy Stein from Harvard University and a former member of Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; and Olivier Blanchard, the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund.

On-line registration is available until April 21. Participants can also register on site the day of the conference.

Background on Nemmers Prizes

Awarded biennially from Northwestern, the Nemmers Prize in economics carries a $200,000 stipend and is among the largest monetary awards in the United States for achievements and works of lasting significance in economics.

Tirole’s award of the Nemmers Prize in economics was “based on his various contributions to economic theory and its application to finance, industrial organization and behavioral economics.”

He has been influential in the theoretical and practical application of game theory and information theory to industrial organization and regulation. His research interests also include finance, macroeconomics, international finance, economics and psychology.

The Nemmers Prizes are made possible through bequests from the late Erwin Esser Nemmers, a former member of the Northwestern University faculty, and his brother, the late Frederic E. Nemmers, both of Milwaukee. The prizes are awarded every other year.

Erwin Nemmers, who persuaded his brother to join him in making a substantial contribution to Northwestern, served as a member of the faculty of the Kellogg School of Management from 1957 until his retirement in 1986. He and Frederic Nemmers were principals in a Milwaukee-based, family-owned, church music publishing house.

Their gifts, totaling $14 million, were designated by Erwin and Frederic Nemmers for the establishment of four endowed professorships in the Kellogg School of Management and the establishment of the Nemmers Prizes.

Consistent with the terms of the Nemmers’ bequests, the Erwin Plein Nemmers Prize in Economics (named in honor of the Nemmers’ father) and the Frederic Esser Nemmers Prize in Mathematics (named by Erwin in honor of his brother) are designed to recognize “works of lasting significance” in the respective disciplines.

Awarded for the first time in 2004, the Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition also is awarded every other year, with a value of $100,000. In addition, the University recently announced the creation of a $200,000 Mechthild Esser Nemmers Prize in Medical Science. The inaugural prize will be awarded in early 2016 and every other year thereafter to physician-scientists whose body of research exhibits outstanding achievement in their disciplines as demonstrated by works of lasting significance.