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Economics Nobel Rewards Research on Regulating Powerful Companies

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Image: French economist Jean Tirole poses with students after a news conference at the Toulouse School of Economics
French economist Jean Tirole poses with students after a news conference at the Toulouse School of Economics in Toulouse on October 13, 2014.STRINGER/FRANCE / Reuters

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Frenchman Jean Tirole won the Nobel prize for economics Monday for showing how regulators can manage markets dominated by a few powerful companies to keep them from blocking competition and overcharging customers. His work is credited with helping drive the deregulation of industries in developed economies in the 1980s and 1990s, when many sectors were dominated by state-owned companies or monopolies. It does not advocate simply for more or less state intervention, however, but offers practical techniques to judge how and when to regulate an industry, experts say. Tirole, for example, has argued for stronger regulation of banks in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Tirole, who works at the Toulouse School of Economics in France and has a Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is the third Frenchman to win the $1.1 million Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. A Frenchman also won the Nobel for literature this years, with the prize going to writer Patrick Modiano.

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