Hart, Oliver Simon D'Arcy

Hart, Oliver Simon D'Arcy, 1948–, British-American economist, b. London, England, Ph.D. Princeton, 1974. He has been a professor at the London School of Economics (1981–85), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1985–93), and Harvard (1993–). In 2016 he shared the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with Bengt Holmström for their contributions to contract theory, which increased the understanding of contracts and institutions and exposed potential problems in contract design. Hart has studied contracts that are incomplete, because they cannot specify all the situations or challenges they might cover; in such contracts the assignment of the right to decide what to do plays an important role. His work has explicated how a company might benefit from owning a supplier or distribution partner rather than contracting with it, how the balance of control between an entrepreneur and financial backers depends on a company's performance, and how contracting with a private party to provide government services may, or may not, strike a useful balance between the strong incentive to reduce costs and the need to maintain quality. Hart has also studied bankruptcy proceedings and bankruptcy reform. He has written Firms, Contracts, and Financial Structure (1995) and numerous journal articles.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2023, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Economics: Biographies