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12 October 2010

Nobel Prize for Economics for Essex graduate

Christopher Pissarides, Copyright Nigel Stead/LSE

The Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences has been awarded to University of Essex graduate Professor Christopher Pissarides.

The joint award was presented to Professor Pissarides, now a professor at the London School of Economics (LSE), for his work on analysing and modelling the complex relationships surrounding labour markets and unemployment.

He shares the prize with Professor Peter Diamond from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Professor Dale Mortensen from Northwestern University – who also has close links with the University of Essex.

Their work on ‘search theory’, including the way companies recruit, individuals search for jobs and Government policy intervenes in the market has been hugely influential.

The Diamond-Mortensen-Pissarides (DMP) model is used extensively to analyse the complex interaction between unemployment, wage formation and job vacancies.

Head of the Department of Economics at the University of Essex Professor Eric Smith said: 'The Department knows both Chris and Dale extremely well. They have visited here and collaborated with us on numerous occasions.

'We are thrilled both personally and professionally to see their work gain this recognition.'

Professor Pissarides speaking at a press conference yesterday said: 'I obviously feel very honoured.'

He added: 'What pleases me is that people, including policy makers, now talk about unemployment within a consistent and coherent framework which takes account of the rest of the economy.

'Where we have been influential is in the way people now analyse these things.'

A statement by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which oversees the Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences, said: 'The Laureates’ models help us understand the ways in which unemployment, job vacancies and wages are affected by regulation and economic policy.'

Professor Pissarides is professor of economics at LSE and holder of the Norman Sosnow Chair in Economics. He is also a fellow of the Centre for Economic Performance at LSE and of the Centre for Economic Policy Research.

He has maintained close links with the University of Essex since graduating with a First Class Honours degree in Economics in 1970 and then gaining a Distinction for his Masters the following year.

Fellow Nobel Prize Laureate Professor Mortensen also has numerous connections with the University of Essex having come to Essex for long stays on two separate occasions as a visiting professor. He has also written a number of influential papers with Professor Ken Burdett and is working on a project with Professor Melvyn Coles, both currently members of the Department of Economics at the University of Essex.

Photo courtesy of Nigel Stead/LSE.

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