US mathematician and economist. He won the 2007 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2007 for his work on the foundations of mechanism design theory, which he shared with fellow Americans Leonid Hurwicz and Roger Myerson. He has been Albert O Hirschman Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University, New Jersey, and visiting lecturer with the rank of professor at Princeton since 2000.
Maskin has researched different areas of economics including the effects of patent protection on the productivity of software firms. He is well known for his work on the theory of the optimal design of auctions with colleague John Riley. While highly abstract and mathematical, mechanism design theory has concrete applications in the real world, and Maskin conducted groundbreaking research into the gap in knowledge between buyers and sellers, and the costs and consequences for the efficient operation of a market. He has also been adviser to the Italian government on the operation of its bond auctions.
Born in New York City, Maskin won an AB in mathematics in 1972, an AM in 1974, and a PhD in applied mathematics in 1976 from Harvard University, Massachusetts, following this up with an MA from Cambridge University, England, 1977, where he worked as a research student and visiting fellow. He taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, from 1977 to 1984 and at Harvard from 1985 to 2000. In 1980 he began studying the dynamics of auctions. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the European Economic Association, and the Econometric Society, of which he was president in 2003. He is also a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy.