A Nobelist pays it forward

Though winning the Nobel Prize was a huge honor for Oliver Williamson, former students creating a fellowship fund in his name came as a greater surprise.

When Professor Emeritus Oliver E. Williamson won the 2009 Nobel Prize in economics, one inspiring gift to Berkeley led to another.

First, Williamson demonstrated his gratitude to the Haas School of Business by pledging the bulk of his Nobel award to his longtime academic home. The generous contribution from Williamson and his wife, Dolores, was directed to a new faculty chair in the economics of organization.

Not long afterward, a group of Williamson’s former Ph.D. students joined forces to create a graduate student fellowship in his honor. The fund, which supports outstanding doctoral students in Berkeley-Haas’s Business and Public Policy Group, got an added boost from the Graduate Fellowships Matching Program.

“This honor is so unanticipated and so moves the spirit that I can only shake my head with wonder,” Williamson said of the new Oliver E. Williamson Ph.D. Fellowship.

One of the world’s most cited economists, Williamson is a pioneer in the multidisciplinary field of transaction cost economics. His groundbreaking work, combining economics with organization theory and aspects of contract law, analyzes the ramifications of the ways markets, hierarchies, and other institutions are organized.

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Dig into stories, photos, videos, and other highlights of Williamson’s Nobel day

Williamson’s influence on 21st-century capitalism

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