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2oo9 winner

Oliver Eaton Williamson Born: 9-27-1932

Born In: Superior, Wisconsin, USA Died on: Father: Scott Williamson Mother: Lucille Williamson Wife: Dolores Celeni Children: Scott R., Tamara E., Karen L., Oliver E. Jr. and Dean V. Number of Children: 5 Nationality: United States Education: B.Sc., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1955 M.B.A., Stanford University, 1960 Ph.D., Carnegie-Mellon University (Economics), 1963
Academic Interests: Microeconomics, Economic Governance Major Books: The Economics of Discretionary Behavior: Managerial Objectives in a Theory of the Firm (1964) Corporate Control and Business Behavior: An Inquiry into the Effects of Organization Form on Enterprise Behavior (1970) Markets and Hierarchies: Analysis and Antitrust Implications (1975). The Economic Institutions of Capitalism: Firms, Markets, Relational Contracting (1985). The Mechanisms of Governance, Oxford University Press (1996) .Prices: Issues in Theory, Practice, and Public (1968). The Firm as a Nexus of Treaties (1989)

Organization Theory: From Chester Barnard to the Present and Beyond (1990).

Nobel Prize for: "his analysis of economic governance, especially the boundaries of the firm" Prize received date: Oct. 12, 2009

Major Awards and Accolades

Nobel Laureate in Economics, 2009. Distinguished Fellow, American Economic Association, 2007 Distinguished Fellow, Industrial Organization Society, 2005 Horst Claus Recktenwald Prize in Economics, 2004 Founding Honorary Editor, Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, 2004 Resident, Rockefeller Study and Conference Center, May-June 2003. Fulbright Distinguished Chair, Siena, Spring 1999 Fellow, American Academy of Political and Social Science, 1997. Member, National Academy of Sciences, 1994. Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1983. Fellow, Econometrics Society, 1977. Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in Law and Economics, 1983, Miami University. Ford Foundation Dissertation Prize, 1963 Alexander Henderson Award for Excellence in Economic Theory, Carnegie-Mellon, 1962.

Director: Center: For the Study of Organizational Innovation, University of Pennsylvania,

(1976-83). Editor or Co-editor: Bell Journal of Economics, (1974-77, 1979-81). Consultant: National Science Foundation, (1976-77). Panel Member: Food Safety Regulation and Societal Impact, National Academy of Sciences, (1978-79). Consultant: Federal Trade Commission, (1978-80). Chair: Academic Senate: University of California, Berkeley, (1995-96). Committee Member: Supply Chain Integration, National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council, (1997-99) Committee Member: Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, National Academy of Sciences, 2006-.

Excerpts from Autobiography Early Childhood:

Egalitarian student, mediocre athlete "I was born in Superior, Wisconsin on September 27, 1932 as the second child of Scott and Lucille Williamson. Both of my parents had been high school teachers but my father left teaching when he married my mother and joined my grandfather, Oliver E. Dunn, in the family real estate business. My father was a successful small businessman and active participant in the life of the community, culminating with nine years of service as President of the Superior City Council. My mother had been the principal of the small high school in Minnesota where my parents met. The prevailing rule on married women required that my mother retire from teaching, but her knowledge of the subject matter was undiminished. Her recall of Latin after 20 years was such that she could have resumed teaching where she left off on a moment's notice. I attended the public schools in Superior. This was a very egalitarian experience. Superior is the most democratic community I have ever lived in. Talent took many forms and was respected in all. I was a good student, a mediocre athlete, and had many good high school friends I hung out with attended Saturday night dances, went bowling, played basketball and pool, and, especially, played Friday night poker. Many of them remain close friends to this day."

Higher Education: The change of condition "My university teacher and mentor Kenneth Arrow remembers me as a student who asked good questions. Although I had not previously thought of myself in that way, on reflection I think that Arrow was right. I was forever curious about how things worked (or didn't work), which led me to identify lapses or anomalies and/or to push the logic to completion. Such an orientation would serve me well throughout my academic career. My initial thoughts of becoming a lawyer changed in high school as I became more attracted to math and science and began talking about being an engineer. My mother declared that M.I.T. was the place to go and, with the advice of the physics teacher at the local college, I enrolled in Ripon College, which had a combined plan with M.I.T." Marriage: Marriage Luck "That combination worked out well. My first jobs after graduation in 1955 were as a project engineer for G.E. and later with the U.S. government in Washington, D.C., where I met and married my wife, Dolores Celini. I applied to and was accepted into the Ph.D. program at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford, where I enrolled in 1958. To my surprise and delight, I discovered that much of my engineering training in mathematics and statistics and model building carried over. But there was more to it than that. My engineering training gave me a much more grounded foundation than would most undergraduate programs in any of the social sciences."

Although I would not come to appreciate this last until later, there was a major difference between engineering and economics with respect to hypothetical ideals. Thus whereas assumptions of weightlessness or perfect gas laws or frictionlessness etc. served the purpose of simplification in engineering, these assumptions would give way to realities (in the form of friction, resistance, turbulence, and the like) as engineering applications were attempted. In economics, however, assumptions of frictionlessness (of which the standard assumption of zero transaction costs was one) often went unquestioned or, even worse, were invoked asymmetrically. Thus whereas markets were subject to "failures" for which corrective public policy measures were prescribed, there was no corresponding provision for failures in the public sector. A more symmetrical approach would be to recognize that positive transaction costs were the economic counterpart of friction and that all forms of organization experience such costs albeit in variable degree (depending on the attributes of the transaction to be organized). I credit my engineering background with giving me a receptive attitude toward transaction costs, to include an interest in pinning down and working out the organizational ramifications of such costs.

Source of Inspiration:

Contribution By drawing attention at high theoretical level to equivalences and differences between market and non-market decision-making, management and service provision, Williamson has been influential in the 1980s and 1990s debates on the boundaries between the public and private sectors.

Works and Achievements:

Family Life:

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