Oliver Hart (economist)

Oliver Hart
Born Oliver Simon D'Arcy Hart
(1948-10-09) October 9, 1948
London, England
Residence Cambridge, Massachusetts, US
Nationality British, American
Fields Law and Economics
Institutions Harvard University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
London School of Economics
Alma mater King's College, Cambridge BA
University of Warwick MA
Princeton University PhD
Doctoral students Jeremy C. Stein[1]
Notable awards Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (2016)
Spouse Rita B. Goldberg

Oliver Simon D'Arcy Hart (born 1948) is a British born economist and the Andrew E. Furer Professor of Economics at Harvard University. Together with Bengt R. Holmström, he received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2016.


Oliver Hart was born in Britain to Philip D'Arcy Hart, a medical researcher, and Ruth Mayer, a gynecologist. Both his parents were Jewish; his father was a member of the noble Montagu family; Oliver's grand-grandfather was Samuel Montagu, 1st Baron Swaythling.[2]

Hart earned his BA in mathematics at King's College, Cambridge, in 1969 (where his contemporaries included the former Bank of England Governor Mervyn King), his MA in economics at the University of Warwick in 1972, and his PhD in economics at Princeton University in 1974. He was a fellow at Churchill College, Cambridge, and then a professor at the London School of Economics. In 1984, he returned to the U.S., where he taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and, since 1993, at Harvard University.[3] He became the first Andrew E. Furer Professor of Economics in 1997[3] and was chairman of the Harvard economics department from 2000 to 2003. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, of the Econometric Society, of the American Finance Association, a corresponding fellow of the British Academy, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He has been president of the American Law and Economics Association and vice president of the American Economic Association, and has several honorary degrees. He is also a Visiting Centennial Professor in the Department of Economics at the London School of Economics.

Hart won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2016 for his work on contract theory.[4]


Hart is an expert on contract theory, theory of the firm, corporate finance, and law and economics. His research centers on the roles that ownership structure and contractual arrangements play in the governance and boundaries of corporations. He has used his theoretical work on firms in two legal cases as a government expert (Black and Decker v. U.S.A. and WFC Holdings Corp. (Wells Fargo) v. U.S.A.).

Personal life

Hart is a US citizen.[5] He is married to Rita B. Goldberg, a Harvard literature professor and author of the second-generation Holocaust memoir Motherland: Growing Up With the Holocaust.[3][6] They have two sons and two grandsons.


Selected articles


External links

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