The duo has been honoured for discoveries that "benefitted sellers, buyers and taxpayers around the world" and includes work on goods and services difficult to sell in traditional ways such as radio frequencies.

Pictures of the winners of the 2020 Nobel prize in economic sciences, Paul R. Milgrom and Robert B. Wilson, displayed at a news conference in Stockholm, Sweden, October 12, 2020.
Pictures of the winners of the 2020 Nobel prize in economic sciences, Paul R. Milgrom and Robert B. Wilson, displayed at a news conference in Stockholm, Sweden, October 12, 2020. (Reuters)

US economists Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson have won the Nobel Economics Prize 2020 for work on commercial auctions, including for goods and services difficult to sell in traditional ways such as radio frequencies, the Nobel Committee said.

The duo was honoured "for improvements to auction theory and inventions of new auction formats," the jury said on Monday.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences noted that the discoveries by Milgrom, 72, and Wilson, 83, "have benefitted sellers, buyers and taxpayers around the world," it said in a statement.

The winners will share the prize sum of about $1.1 million (10 million Swedish kronor or 950,000 euros).

READ MORE: Nobel Prize week commences amid pandemic

Tommy Andersson, member in The Prize Committee for the Alfred Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences speaks at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm on October 12, 2020.
Tommy Andersson, member in The Prize Committee for the Alfred Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences speaks at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm on October 12, 2020. (AFP)

Prestigious economic prize or a "false Nobel"

Last year the honour went to French-American Esther Duflo, Indian-born Abhijit Banerjee of the US, and American Michael Kremer for their experimental work on alleviating poverty.

Even if it might be the most prestigious prize an economist can hope to receive, the economics prize has not reached the same status as those originally chosen by Alfred Nobel in his will, which included medicine, physics, chemistry, literature and peace.

It was instead created through a donation from the Swedish central bank and detractors have thus dubbed it "a false Nobel."

The prize closes the 2020 Nobel season which so far has seen the peace prize awarded to the UN's World Food Programme.

READ MORE: World Food Programme wins Nobel peace prize

Importance of auctions

"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's official website tweeted.

New auction formats have been used for radio spectra, fishing quotas, aircraft landing slots and emissions allowances.

READ MORE: Poet Louise Gluck bags 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature

2020 women winners

Women have been more prevalent than usual this year, with American poet Louise Gluck winning the literature prize.

And Frenchwoman Emmanuelle Charpentier and American Jennifer Doudna became the first all-female duo to win a scientific Nobel on Wednesday, clinching the chemistry award for their discovery of the CRISPR-Cas9 DNA snipping "scissors."

Winners would normally receive their Nobel from King Carl XVI Gustaf at a formal ceremony in Stockholm on December 10 but the pandemic means it has been replaced by a televised ceremony showing the laureates receiving their awards in their home countries.

READ MORE: Two women scientists win Nobel chemistry prize for gene-editing tool

Source: TRTWorld and agencies