The Mason Spirit

Vernon Smith Receives Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has selected George Mason Professor Vernon L. Smith to receive the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his pioneering work in the field of experimental economics. On December 10, he was formally awarded the prize in ceremonies held at Stockholm University in Sweden. He shares the prize with Princeton Professor Daniel Kahneman.

On December 8 in Stockholm, he gave a special lecture on his groundbreaking work in experimental economics before an audience of several hundred scholars that also included nearly 40 family members, friends, and colleagues from George Mason and the University of Arizona.

Smith pioneered the field of experimental economics nearly 50 years ago and currently leads a team of economists at George Mason’s Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science, in which students across related disciplines learn “by doing” through direct experience with market performance. He is a faculty member in the School of Law and Department of Economics and a fellow of the Mercatus Center.

“The awarding of this prize is a stellar example of how private support significantly impacts the recruitment of outstanding scholars,” says university President Alan G. Merten. “This is truly a proud and exciting moment in George Mason’s history.”

Smith is George Mason’s second Nobel laureate. In 1986, James M. Buchanan, former Holbert L. Harris Chair in Economics and now distinguished professor emeritus of economics, was awarded the prize in economic sciences for his work on public choice theory.