December 12, 1950 |
New York City, New York USA
Institute for Advanced Study
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
University of Cambridge
|Alma mater||Harvard University|
|Awards||Nobel Memorial Prize (2007)|
Eric Stark Maskin (born December 12, 1950) is a North American economist and Nobel laureate recognized with Leonid Hurwicz and Roger Myerson "for having laid the foundations of mechanism design theory". He is the Adams University Professor at Harvard University. Until 2011, he was the Albert O. Hirschman Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study, and a visiting lecturer with the rank of Professor at Princeton University.
Maskin was born in New York City on December 12, 1950, to a Jewish family that was later described as "non religious" and spent his youth in Alpine, New Jersey. He graduated from Tenafly High School in Tenafly, New Jersey, in 1968, and attended Harvard University where he earned A.B.. He continued to earn a Ph.D. in applied mathematics at the same institution. In 1976, after earning his doctorate, Maskin become a research fellow at Jesus College, Cambridge University. In the following year, he joined the faculty at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1985 he returned to Harvard at the Louis Berkman Professor of Economics, where in remained until 2000. That year, he moved to the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. In addition to his position at the Princeton Institute, Maskin is the director of the School in Economics Theory at the The Institute for Advanced Studies at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 2011, Maskin has returned to Harvard again.
Maskin has worked in diverse areas of economic theory, such as game theory, the economics of incentives, and contract theory. He is particularly well known for his papers on mechanism design/implementation theory and dynamic games. His current research projects include comparing different electoral rules, examining the causes of inequality, and studying coalition formation. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Econometric Society, and the European Economic Association, and a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy. He was president of the Econometric Society in 2003.
Software patents 
Maskin suggested that software patents inhibit innovation rather than stimulate progress. Software, semiconductor, and computer industries have been innovative despite historically weak patent protection, he argued. Innovation in those industries has been sequential and complementary, so competition can increase firms' future profits. In such a dynamic industry, "patent protection may reduce overall innovation and social welfare". A natural experiment occurred in the 1980s when patent protection was extended to software", wrote Maskin. "Standard arguments would predict that R&D intensity and productivity should have increased among patenting firms. Consistent with our model, however, these increases did not occur". Other evidence supporting this model includes a distinctive pattern of cross-licensing and a positive relationship between rates of innovation and firm entry.
See also 
- "The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2007" (Press release). Nobel Foundation. October 15, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-15.
- Economics professor wins Nobel - The Daily Princetonian
- Silverstein, Marilyn. "Nobel winner who's at home with Einstein", New Jersey Jewish News, November 8, 2007. Accessed January 22, 2008. "A native of New York, Maskin grew up in New Jersey, in a nonreligious Jewish home in the town of Alpine".
- Minutes of Library Board Meeting, Tenafly Public Library, dated October 15, 2007. Accessed January 22, 2008.
- Sequential Innovation, Patents, and Imitation, by James Bessen and Eric Maskin, Discussion paper, MIT (2000), published in The RAND Journal of Economics, Volume 40, Issue 4, pages 611–635, Winter 2009
- Maskin Nobel Prize lecture
- Profile in The Daily Princetonian
- Nash Equilibrium and Welfare Optimality
- Tabarrok, Alex (2007-10-16). "What is Mechanism Design? Explaining the research that won the 2007 Nobel Prize in Economics.". Reason Magazine. Retrieved 2007-12-11.