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3 Americans win Nobel for marketplace theories

Leonid Hurwicz, Eric S. Maskin and Roger B. Myerson won the Nobel Prize in economics for theories that analyze imperfections in the marketplace and help set rules for transactions ranging from government-bond auctions to elections.

The three Americans will share the 10 million kronor ($1.56 million) prize for "having laid the foundations of mechanism-design theory," the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said today in Stockholm.

Their work, based on ideas first proposed by Hurwicz, 90, helps explain what happens in markets when competition isn't completely free and not everyone has the same information or goals. Mechanism-design theory has been used in labor negotiations, taxation and pricing stock options, in addition to designing auctions.