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Robert Wilson

Robert   Wilson
Professor Emeritus, Economics
Robert Wilson
Adams Distinguished Professor of Management, Emeritus
Academic Area: 
Economics

Research Statement

Robert Wilson studies game theory and its applications to business and economics. His research and teaching focus on market design, pricing, negotiation, and related topics concerning industrial organization and information economics. He has been a major contributor to auction designs and competitive bidding strategies in the oil, communication, and power industries, and to the design of innovative pricing schemes.

Bio

Robert Wilson is the Adams Distinguished Professor of Management, Emeritus, at the Stanford Business School, where he has been on the faculty since 1964. His research and teaching are on market design, pricing, negotiation, and related topics concerning industrial organization and information economics. He is an expert on game theory and its applications.

Dr. Wilson has been a major contributor to auction designs and competitive bidding strategies in the oil, communication, and power industries, and to the design of innovative pricing schemes. His work on pricing of priority service for electric power has been implemented in the utility industry. His book on Nonlinear Pricing (Oxford Press, 1993) is an encyclopedic analysis of tariff design and related topics for public utilities, including power, communications, and transport; it won the 1995 Leo Melamed Prize, awarded biannually by the University of Chicago for “outstanding scholarship by a business professor.” His work on game theory includes wage bargaining and strikes, and in legal contexts, settlement negotiations. He has authored some of the basic studies of reputational effects in predatory pricing, price wars, and other competitive battles.

He has published approximately 100 articles in professional journals and books since completing the Bachelor, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees at Harvard College and the Harvard Business School. He has been an associate editor of several journals, and delivered several public lectures. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a fellow, former officer and Council member of the Econometric Society. The Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration conferred an honorary Doctor of Economics degree in 1986, and the University of Chicago, an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1995.

On problems of pricing strategy, he has advised the U.S. Department of the Interior and oil companies (on bidding for offshore leases), the Electric Power Research Institute (on pricing of electric power, design of priority service systems, design of wholesale markets, funding of basic research, and risk analysis of environmental hazards and climate change), and the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (on pricing product lines in high technology industries). With Paul Milgrom he designed for Pacific Bell the auction of spectrum licenses adopted by the FCC, and subsequently worked on the bidding strategy team, and later for other firms. He contributed to the designs of the power exchange and auctions of ancillary services in California, and he has continued to advise EPRI; the California Power Exchange; the California, New England, and Ontario System Operators; the Canadian Competition Bureau; Energy Ministries of several countries; and others involved in the design of auctions for electricity, power and gas transmission, and telecommunications in the U.S.A. and elsewhere. His designs of other auctions have been adopted by private firms. He has been an expert witness on antitrust and securities matters.

Academic Degrees

  • D.Laws (Honorary), University of Chicago, 1995
  • D.Economics (Honorary), Norwegian School of Economics, 1986
  • DBA, Harvard University, 1963
  • MBA, Harvard University, 1961
  • AB, Harvard University, 1959

Academic Appointments

  • At Stanford University since 1964
  • Director, Stanford Institute of Theoretical Economics, 1993-1995

Awards and Honors

  • Designated Distinguished Fellow, The American Economic Association, 2006
  • PhD Faculty Distinguished Teaching Award, Stanford University, 2001
  • Elected Member, National Academy of Sciences, 1994

Publications

Journal Articles

Srihari Govindan, Robert Wilson. Theoretical Economics. 2006, Vol. 1, Issue 2, Pages 167-206.
Srihari Govindan , Robert Wilson. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2005, Vol. 102, Issue 43, Pages 15706–15711.
John Kennan, Robert Wilson. Journal of Economic Literature. 1993, Vol. 31, Issue 1, Pages 45-104.
Faruk Gul, Hugo Sonnenschein, Robert Wilson. Journal of Economic Theory. 1986, Vol. 39, Issue 1, Pages 155-190.
David M. Kreps, Robert Wilson. Econometrica. 1982, Vol. 50, Pages 863-894.

Books

Robert Wilson Oxford Press, 1993.

Working Papers

Competition for a Majority | PDF
Paulo Barelli, Srihari Govindan, Robert Wilson2013
Existence of Equilibria in All-Pay Auctions | PDF
Srihari Govindan, Robert Wilson2010
Existence of Equilibria in Auctions with Private Values | PDF
Srihari Govindan, Robert Wilson2010
Efficient Intertemporal Allocation of Risk and Return | PDF
Robert Wilson, Eiichiro Kazumori 2009
Decision-Theoretic Forward Induction | PDF
Srihari Govindan, Robert Wilson2008
Global Newton Method for Stochastic Games | PDF
Srihari Govindan, Robert Wilson2008
A Decomposition Algorithm for N-Player Games | PDF
Srihari Govindan, Robert Wilson2007
Metastable Equilibria | PDF
Srihari Govindan, Robert Wilson2007
On Forward Induction | PDF
Srihari Govindan, Robert Wilson2007
Stable Outcomes of Generic Games in Extensive Form | PDF
Srihari Govindan, Robert Wilson2006
Essential Equilibria
Robert Wilson, Srihari Govindan2005
Justification of Stable Equilibria | PDF
Srihari Govindan, Robert Wilson2005
Refinements of Nash Equilibrium | PDF
Srihari Govindan, Robert Wilson2005
Architecture of Power Markets
Robert Wilson2001
Pricing a Product Line
Robert Wilson, Shmuel Oren, Stephen Smith1983
Rational Cooperation in the Finitely-Repeated Prisoners' Dilemma
David M. Kreps, Paul R. Milgrom, Robert Wilson, John Roberts1981
Sequential Equilibria
David M. Kreps, Robert Wilson1980

Courses Taught

Degree Courses

2014-15

This course studies the roles of information, incentives and strategic behavior in markets. The rudiments of game theory are developed and applied to selected topics regarding auctions, bargaining, and firms' competitive strategies; information...

Students and faculty review and present recent research papers on basic theories and economic applications of decision theory, game theory and mechanism design. Applications include market design and analyses of incentives and strategic behavior...

2013-14

This course studies the roles of information, incentives and strategic behavior in markets. The rudiments of game theory are developed and applied to selected topics regarding auctions, bargaining, and firms' competitive strategies; information...

Students and faculty review and present recent research papers on basic theories and economic applications of decision theory, game theory and mechanism design. Applications include market design and analyses of incentives and strategic behavior...

2012-13

This course studies the roles of information, incentives and strategic behavior in markets. The rudiments of game theory are developed and applied to selected topics regarding auctions, bargaining, and firms' competitive strategies; information...

Students and faculty review and present recent research papers on basic theories and economic applications of decision theory, game theory and mechanism design. Applications include market design and analyses of incentives and strategic behavior...

2011-12

This course studies the roles of information, incentives and strategic behavior in markets. The rudiments of game theory are developed and applied to selected topics regarding auctions, bargaining, and firms' competitive strategies; information...

Students and faculty review and present recent research papers on basic theories and economic applications of decision theory, game theory and mechanism design. Applications include market design and analyses of incentives and strategic behavior...

2010-11

This course studies the roles of information, incentives and strategic behavior in markets. The rudiments of game theory are developed and applied to selected topics regarding auctions, bargaining, and firms' competitive strategies; information...

Students and faculty review and present recent research papers on basic theories and economic applications of decision theory, game theory and mechanism design. Applications include market design and analyses of incentives and strategic behavior...

Stanford Case Studies

Red Brand Canners | OSA1
Robert Wilson1965

Stanford University Affiliations

Greater Stanford University

  • Affiliation commas wrapper

    Director, Stanford Institute of Theoretical Economics, 1993-95