US economists Alvin Roth, a professor at Harvard University, and Lloyd Shapley, a professor emeritus at University of California Los Angeles, won the 2012 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for their research that helps explain how to match different economic agents.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the academy responsible for awarding the prize, said of the pair's work, "Even though these two researchers worked independently of one another, the combination of Shapley's basic theory and Roth's empirical investigations, experiments and practical design has generated a flourishing field of research and improved the performance of many markets."
According to Reuters, Shapley won his portion of the prize for his work using game theory to study and compare various matching methods and studying how to make sure the matches were acceptable to all counterparts. Shapley even created a unique algorithm to assist in matching.
Roth then used Shapley's results in a series of empirical studies and helped redesign existing institutions to help match new doctors with hospitals, patients with organ donors or even students with schools.
Roth shared his first reaction to learning he won the prize with CNN Money. He said, "I guess when I go to class this morning my students will pay more attention to me."
According to the Associated Press, the award in economics is not technically a Nobel Prize, because unlike the five other awards it wasn't established in the will of Alfred Nobel. This prize was created by the Swedish central bank in Nobel's memory in 1968, and has been handed out with the other prizes ever since.