DEFINITION of Leonid Hurwicz

A professor of economics at the University of Minnesota and winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize in Economics, along with Eric Maskin and Roger Myerson, for his research on mechanism design. His theory says that competition is not really perfect because some individuals cheat, and that taking individuals' self-interest into account when designing business transactions can improve outcomes.

BREAKING DOWN Leonid Hurwicz

Hurwicz was born in Moscow in 1917, but he grew up in Poland, where his family relocated when the communists came to power in Russia. As a Jew facing Nazi occupation of Europe, he escaped to the United States, specifically to Chicago, where he had relatives. He audited Ludwig von Mises's courses at the University of Chicago before ending up as a research assistant at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under fellow economist and Nobel Laureate Paul Samuelson.