BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards

Economics, finance and management 1st Edition (2008)


Jean Tirole

Galardonado Economía, Finanzas y Gestión de Empresas 2008

The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Economics, Finance and Management category has been granted to Jean Tirole, one of the world’s economic eminences in the theoretical and practical application of Game Theory and Information Theory.

Jean Tirole (France, 1953) was deemed to merit the award “for his economic analysis of optimal contracts and optimal design of public policies in a variety of contexts where asymmetry of information and conflicting incentives play a key role, including regulation, corporate finance and the analysis of economic organizations”.

Professor Tirole’s research has also focused on phenomena such as financial crashes and the collapse of economic bubbles. He has authored more than 150 articles and a number of books that have become international standards among both academia and officialdom.

Game Theory and Information Theory

Tirole refers to the reputation gained through his research work as “a matter of luck, being in the right place at the right time”, because, he explains, he began his career “just as two interesting mathematical theories came to the fore: Game Theory and Information Theory”. The former predicts the strategies that will be adopted by distinct players in a given situation and is now among the dominant theories in economic analysis. The latter describes how these players go about using inside information in a strategic way, and Tirole has successfully applied it to the study of public and private organizations of all sizes and how they interact with markets.

“These theories have allowed me to use a theoretical and applied approach in analyzing specific areas such as competition, finance or financial crises”, Tirole continues. The French economist has also looked at some of the causes behind the current financial turmoil, such as flaws in financial institution regulation and the dearth of market liquidity.

Jean Tirole first trained as a civil engineer then went on to obtain a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University Paris-Dauphine, and another in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is currently Director of the Jean-Jacques Laffont Foundation — named for an economist he worked with in the past — at the Toulouse School of Economics, and Scientific Director of the Industrial Economics Institute of the same French city.


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