Alvin Roth Distinguished Biomedical Scholars Lecture Series (9/17/2015)

Alvin Roth graduated from Columbia University with a Bachelor’s degree in operations research and received a Master’s and PhD from Stanford University in the same discipline. Roth’s first teaching position was at the University of Illinois, where he worked alongside psychologists to conduct experiments exploring game theory from a novel perspective. From there, Roth moved to the University of Pittsburgh to become the Andrew Mellon Professor of Economics. He remained in Pittsburgh for over a decade, being named one of the “Ten Outstanding Young Americans” by the United States Junior Chamber, before taking a position at Harvard University. Today, Roth is the Craig and Susan McCaw Professor of Economics at Stanford University, while still at Harvard in an emeritus role as the George Gund Professor of Economics and Business Administration.

Continuing the pioneering precedent established early in his career, Roth works in game theory, experimental economics, and market design. He directed the redesign of the National Resident Matching Program, through which most American doctors find their first employment as residents at American hospitals. Roth has contributed to both the reorganization of the market for more senior physicians, as they pursue subspecialty training, and the design of the high school matching systems used in New York City, as well as the school choice systems for public and charter schools in other large American cities. He has also assisted in the design and implementation of kidney exchange, which allows incompatible patient-donor pairs to find compatible kidneys for transplantation.

Roth shared the 2012 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences “for the theory of stable allocations and the practice of market design.” He is a Guggenheim fellow, an Alfred P. Sloan fellow, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Harvard Business School has recognized his work as a teacher with the Wyss Award for Excellence in Mentoring, the Excellence in Mentoring Doctoral Students Award, and the 2010–11 Charles M. Williams Award. Roth is most recently the author of Who Gets What and Why: The New Economics of Matchmaking and Market Design. A collection of his papers is housed at Duke University’s Rubenstein Library.