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Americans Paul R. Milgrom and Robert B. Wilson have won the Nobel Prize in economics for “improvements to auction theory and inventions of new auction formats.”

“Auctions are everywhere and affect our everyday lives. This year’s Economic Sciences Laureates, Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson, have improved auction theory and invented new auction formats, benefiting sellers, buyers and taxpayers around the world,” the Nobel Prize committee said on its Twitter account.

This year’s prize came as much of the world experiences the worst recession since World War II because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The award capped a week of Nobel Prizes and is technically known as the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. Since its establishment in 1969, it has been awarded 51 times and is now widely considered one of the Nobel prizes.

Last year’s award went to two researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a third from Harvard University, for their groundbreaking research into efforts to reduce global poverty.

Few economists could have predicted last fall that the globe would come to a virtual standstill within months, as governments closed their borders, imposed lockdowns and ordered other measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, triggering a sharp dip in business activity worldwide.

The prestigious award comes with a 10-million krona ($1.1 million) cash prize and a gold medal.

On Monday, the Nobel Committee awarded the prize for physiology and medicine for discovering the liver-ravaging hepatitis C virus. Tuesday’s prize for physics honored breakthroughs in understanding the mysteries of cosmic black holes, and the chemistry prize on Wednesday went to scientists behind a powerful gene-editing tool.

The literature prize was awarded to American poet Louise Gluck on Thursday for her “candid and uncompromising” work. The World Food Programme won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for its effort to combat hunger worldwide.

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