William Vickrey

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
William Vickrey
William Vickrey.gif
Born (1914-06-21)21 June 1914
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Died 11 October 1996(1996-10-11) (aged 82)
Harrison, New York, USA
Nationality Canada
Institution Columbia University
Field Public economics
School or tradition
Post Keynesian economics
Alma mater Columbia University
Yale University
Influences Robert Murray Haig
Harold Hotelling
John Maynard Keynes
Influenced Jacques Drèze
Harvey J. Levin
Lynn Turgeon
Contributions Vickrey auction
Revenue equivalence theorem
Congestion pricing
Awards Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics (1996)
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

William Spencer Vickrey (21 June 1914 – 11 October 1996) was a Canadian-born professor of economics and Nobel Laureate. Vickrey was awarded the 1996 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with James Mirrlees for their research into the economic theory of incentives under asymmetric information, becoming the only Nobel laureate born in British Columbia. The announcement of the prize was made just three days prior to his death; his Columbia University economics department colleague C. Lowell Harriss accepted the posthumous prize on his behalf.

Early years[edit]

Vickrey was born in Victoria, British Columbia and attended high school at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. After obtaining his B.S. in Mathematics at Yale University in 1935, he went on to complete his Masters in 1937 and doctoral studies in 1948 at Columbia University, where he would remain for most of his career.

Career[edit]

Vickrey was the first to use the tools of game theory to explain the dynamics of auctions.[1] In his seminal paper, Vickrey derives several auction equilibria, and provides an early revenue-equivalence result. The revenue equivalence theorem remains the centrepiece of modern auction theory. The Vickrey auction is named after him.[1]

Vickrey worked on congestion pricing, the notion that roads and other services should be priced so that users see the costs that arise from the service being fully used when there is still demand. Congestion pricing gives a signal to users to adjust their behaviour or to investors to expand the service in order to remove the constraint. The theory was later partially put into action in London.

In public economics, Vickrey extended the marginal cost pricing approach of Harold Hotelling.

Vickrey's economic philosophy was influenced by John Maynard Keynes and Henry George. He was sharply critical of the Chicago school of economics and was vocal in opposing the political focus on achieving balanced budgets and fighting inflation, especially in times of high unemployment.

Vickrey had many graduate students and protegés at Columbia University, including the economists Jacques Drèze, Lynn Turgeon, and Harvey J. Levin.

Personal life[edit]

Vickrey married to Cecile Thompson in 1951. He was a Quaker and a member of Scarsdale Friends Meeting. He died in Harrison, New York in 1996 from heart failure.

Selected works[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Vickrey, 1961

External links[edit]