Nobel Prize in Economics awarded to Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson of Stanford University

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“Their discoveries have benefited sellers, buyers and taxpayers around the world,” the prize committee said.

The men were honored for theoretical insights into developing the best rules for bidding and for establishing the final price. The resulting improvements in auction formats have proven especially useful in auctioning off goods and services that are difficult to price using traditional methods, such as radio frequencies, the committee said.

Wilson, 83, was cited for theoretical research that explored “the winner’s curse” in auctions of goods that ultimately had the same value to all potential buyers, such as minerals in a specific geographic area. He developed a theory explaining the tendency of successful bidders to place bids lower than their own estimate of the item’s value to themselves or other buyers, because they feared paying too much.

Milgrom, 72, drew the nod for developing a more general theory of auctions involving values that vary between bidders. After analyzing bidding strategies in several popular auctions, he showed the best format to be one in which bidders learn more about each other’s estimated values during bidding.

Auctions are embedded throughout the modern economy. Art houses use them to sell paintings and antiquities. Search engines rely on them to dispose of advertising space. And public authorities offer airport landings slots and mineral rights via auctions.

Global financial markets also operate on their principles.

Asked by reporters about his own use of auctions, Wilson mentioned that he had recently purchased a pair of ski boots on eBay. “It’s something you encounter a lot,” he said.

The prize committee said that Milgrom and Wilson had invented new formats for simultaneously auctioning off many interrelated objects for societal benefit rather than maximal revenue. In 1994, the U.S. government first used their insights to auction off radio frequencies to telecommunications companies.


Inaugural Leo Gerard Scholarship Awarded at Laurentian University

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Laurentian University in Sudbury has awarded its inaugural Leo Gerard Scholarship to students Mikaela Cheslock and Caitlyn Cross.

The scholarship, established in honour of the legacy of Sudbury native and United Steelworkers (USW) International President Emeritus Leo W. Gerard, is awarded annually to students of Laurentian’s Workplace and Labour Studies program on the basis of academic merit and community engagement.

The first two recipients of the Leo Gerard Scholarship are fourth-year students in Laurentian’s Workplace and Labour Studies program. They are on the Dean’s Honour’s List and both will be pursuing further graduate education in labour issues next year.

Mikaela Cheslock is majoring in Workplace and Labour Studies with a minor in Law and Justice. Caitlyn Cross is in the Business Administration program majoring in Human Resources with a minor in Workplace and Labour Studies.

In early 2020, the USW’s Canadian National Office, District 6 Office (Ontario and Atlantic Canada), its two Sudbury-based local unions – Locals 6500 and 2020 – and the Sudbury and District Labour Council made contributions to create the Leo Gerard Legacy Fund. The fund supports the annual student scholarships as well as a lecture series featuring nationally and internationally renowned experts on issues affecting working people and organized labour.

“We are very proud to have such outstanding and committed students in our program. We thank USW Canada, USW District 6 and USW Locals 6500 and 2020 for their support of the next generation of labour activists and community leaders,” states a release from Laurentian’s Workplace and Labour Studies program.

Leo Gerard and USW Local 6500 President Nick Larochelle participated in the inaugural scholarship award ceremony, which was held via Zoom due to COVID-19 safety protocols.

Gerard, who retired in July 2019 after serving 18 years as USW international president, studied economics and political science at


William Paterson University Awarded ‘Transformative’ STEM Grant

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WAYNE, NJ — William Paterson University was awarded a five-year, $1 million Scholarships-in-STEM grant from the National Science Foundation, the university announced.

The grant will support WPU students majoring in mathematics and computer science through scholarships and mentoring, according to the university.

“The overall goal of this project is to increase STEM degree completion of low-income, high achieving undergraduates with demonstrated financial need,” says Venkat Sharma, dean of the College of Science and Health, who serves as the team’s STEM administrator. “I congratulate all of our colleagues for their hard work in obtaining this highly competitive and transformative grant.”

Over the five-year duration, the project will support 26 first-year and transfer students who are pursuing bachelor’s degrees in mathematics, computer science, or computer information technology.

First year students will receive scholarship support for up to four years and transfer students will receive up to two years of scholarship support, the university said.

With this grant award, William Paterson intends to enroll three cohorts of low-income, academically talented students as mathematics and computer science (MaCS) scholars and support them with scholarships.

The University will also work to improve year-over-year retention rates for MaCS scholars who are first-time, full-time, first-year or transfer students, and improve graduation rates for all MaCS scholars.

Additionally, the funds will support a research study that investigates the relationship between college retention for low-income students and strength-based, culturally responsive mentoring. The proposed project will also refine the recruitment pipeline of females into the target STEM majors, which will increase enrollment and, consequentially, increase the number of underrepresented STEM graduates entering the workforce.

This grant will also allow the University to develop leadership programs at its seven partner schools, the university said. These include:

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