The Golden Goose Award is this year going to three economists whose basic research on game theory and auctions enabled the Federal Communications Commission to auction spectrum licenses. The award -- sponsored by the Association of American Universities and other science focused associations -- was created to honor federally funded research that "may not have seemed to have significant practical applications at the time it was conducted but has resulted in major economic or other benefits to society." The award was created as something of a response to lawmakers who criticize basic research or projects whose names sound funny. This year's award, to social scientists, comes as some Republicans have questioned the value of federal support for the social sciences.
The winners are Robert Wilson, the Adams Distinguished Professor of Management Emeritus at Stanford University; Paul Milgrom, the Shirley and Leonard Ely Professor of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford University; and R. Preston McAfee, chief economist at Microsoft.
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