William Vickrey

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William Vickrey
Born(1914-06-21)21 June 1914
Died11 October 1996(1996-10-11) (aged 82)
NationalityCanada
InstitutionColumbia University
FieldPublic economics
School or
tradition
Post Keynesian economics
Alma materColumbia University
Yale University
Doctoral
advisor
Carl Shoup
Robert M. Haig
Doctoral
students
David Colander
Jacques Drèze
InfluencesHenry George
Harold Hotelling
John Maynard Keynes
ContributionsVickrey auction
Revenue equivalence theorem
Congestion pricing
Awards
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

William Spencer Vickrey (21 June 1914 – 11 October 1996) was a Canadian-American professor of economics. He is a Nobel Laureate. He 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 his Nobel Prize was made just three days prior to his death. Vickrey died during his journey to a conference of Georgist academics that he helped found. He was never missed once in 20 years.[1][2] His Columbia University economics department colleague C. Lowell Harriss accepted the posthumous prize on his behalf. There are only three other cases where a Nobel Prize has been presented posthumously.

Early years[change | change source]

Vickrey was born in Victoria, British Columbia. He 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 M.A. in 1937. He also did Ph.D. in 1948 at Columbia University, where he remained for most of his career.

Personal life[change | change source]

Vickrey married Cecile Thompson in 1951. He was a Quaker. He is also a member of Scarsdale Friends Meeting.[3] He died in Harrison, New York in 1996 from heart failure.

Selected works[change | change source]

  • "Counterspeculation, Auctions, and Competitive Sealed Tenders", Journal of Finance, 1961. The paper originated auction theory, a subfield of game theory.
  • "Fifteen Fatal Fallacies of Financial Fundamentalism: A Disquisition on Demand Side Economics". October 5, 1996.
  • Arrow, Kenneth Joseph; Arnott, Richard J.; Atkinson, Anthony A.; Drèze, Jacques, eds. (1997). Public Economics: Selected Papers by William Vickrey. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-59763-0.
  • Warner, Aaron W.; Forstater, Mathew; Rosen, Sumner M., eds. (2000). Commitment to Full Employment: The Economics and Social Policy of William S. Vickrey. Armonk, N.Y: M.E. Sharpe. ISBN 978-0-7656-0633-4.
  • Pavlina R. Tcherneva; Forstater, Mathew (2004). Full Employment and Price Stability: The Macroeconomic Vision of William S. Vickrey. Edward Elgar Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84376-409-0.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)

References[change | change source]

  1. Netzer, Dick (November 1996). "Remembering William Vickrey". Land Lines. 8 (6). Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  2. Gaffney, Mason. "Warm Memories of Bill Vickrey". Land & Liberty. Archived from the original on 16 November 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  3. William Vickrey - Biographical

Further reading[change | change source]

External links[change | change source]

Awards
Preceded by
Robert E. Lucas Jr.
Laureate of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics
1996
Served alongside: James A. Mirrlees
Succeeded by
Robert C. Merton
Myron S. Scholes