Leonid Hurwicz (1917-2008) was Regents' Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Minnesota and recipient of the 2007 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science for his work on mechanism design. The bulk of the Leonid Hurwicz papers span the years 1930-2008, covering his entire career as an economist, from his early work in the 1940s and 1950s at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the University of Chicago, and the Cowles Commission, until his death in 2008. The collection is arranged in the following series: Correspondence, Personal Files, Printed Materials, Professional Service, Research and Writings (about 70% of the collection), and Teaching Materials. Though there are correspondence, legal, financial, and other papers relating to Hurwicz's forced migration to the United States, there have been no items discovered documenting his training as an economist at the University of Warsaw or at the London School of Economics in the 1930s. The majority of the collection focuses on Hurwicz's work after 1970, most notably his collaborations with Stanley Reiter, Kenneth Arrow, Don Saari, Thomas Marschak and Marcel Richter.
The bulk of the Leonid Hurwicz Papers span the years 1930-2008, covering his entire career as an economist in the United States, from his early work at MIT, the University of Chicago and the Cowles Commission until his death while Emeritus Professor at the University of Minnesota. The collection is arranged in the following series: Correspondence, Personal Files, Printed Materials, Professional Service Series, Research and Writings, and Teaching Materials. Though there are correspondence, legal, financial, and other papers documenting his migration to the United States, there have been no items discovered that document his training as an economist at the University of Warsaw or at the London School of Economics. The majority of the collection focuses on Hurwicz's work after 1970, most notably his collaborations with Stanley Reiter, Kenneth Arrow, Don Saari, Thomas Marschak and Marcel Richter.
Though there is a significant amount of personal and professional correspondence, the majority of the papers reside in the 142 boxes of the Research and Writings Series, which contains extensive files of Hurwicz's research notes, reprints, and revisions of working papers by Hurwicz and others with added annotations. The research files document important developments in postwar mathematical economics and Hurwicz's seminal contributions to this field of study.
Recurring subjects in Research and Writings include Cowles-style econometrics; the stability of general equilibrium; the integrability of demand functions; the study of monopolies and oligopolies, as well as socialized systems; decision-making under ambiguity; the second welfare theorem; the applications of game theory to economic, social and political issues; and the development of mechanism design, for which Hurwicz was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2007. With his theories on mechanism design (including the notion of incentive-compatibility), Hurwicz analyzed the functioning of institutions and communication systems such as banking, auctions, and privatized markets, and compared political systems such as socialism and capitalism.
In addition to documenting Hurwicz's work in theoretical economics, the collection also follows his professional activities at the University of Minnesota, both as a teacher and as an active member of the Economics Department, his participation on various committees, and his work with institutions such as the Cowles Commission, RAND corporation, the National Science Foundation, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Also in evidence is Hurwicz's interest in the development of foreign economies, with an emphasis on East Asia, Russia, and Eastern Europe. His numerous travels and presentations during his career as well as his continuous relations with European and Asian economists are documented chiefly in the Professional Service Series. Finally, the Printed Materials Series as well as the Research and Writings Series offer a significant amount of works by others documenting the development of recent economics. Many are heavily annotated by Hurwicz.
Electronic files which were readable have been transferred to the electronic records server. They consist chiefly of word processing documents containing drafts of Informational Efficiency, which Hurwicz co-authored with Reiter in the late 1990s. A use copy of original electronic files must be made before contents can be accessed; please contact Research Services before coming to use this material.
Detailed descriptions on the arrangement and content of each series can be found in the respective sections in this collection guide.