Vickrey, William Spencer

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William Spencer Vickrey, 1914–96, Canadian economist, b. Victoria, B.C., Ph.D. Columbia, 1947. He was on the faculty of Columbia from 1946 until his death. In 1996 he and James Mirrlees shared the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science for their contributions to the economic theory of incentives in situations where the decision-makers have different information. Vickrey studied optimal taxation, using game theory to analyze the problem and accounting for the effect of taxation on individual incentive and for the incomplete information available to the government. He also studied auctions in which the participants have incomplete information, and worked on the efficient pricing of public services, undertaking studies of the New York City subway fare system and road traffic and tolls.