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Honorary Graduate Professor Oliver Hart 20th July 2012

15:37, Tue 14 Aug 2012

Oliver Hart, a Harvard University economist who is an expert on the theory of the firm, corporate finance and incomplete contracts, received an honorary degree at the University of Warwick Summer Graduation in the afternoon ceremony on Friday 20th July.

Hart, holds master's degree in economics from the University of Warwick and is an honorary professor within the University of Warwick Department of Economics.

Hart is the Andrew E. Furer Professor of Economics at Harvard University, where he has taught since 1993. Born in Britain, he holds a B.A. in mathematics from King's College, Cambridge, an M.A. in economics from the University of Warwick, and a Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University. He taught at the London School of Economics and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before arriving at Harvard.

Prof. Hart's research examines the roles that ownership structure and contractual arrangements play in the governance and boundaries of corporations. His work has furthermore revolutionised the field of corporate finance.

Hart has spent much time reflecting on a central question posed in 1936 by Nobel Prize Laureate Ronald Coase, who asked, “If markets are so good at allocating resources, why do we need firms?”

Hart's exploration of that issue led him to examine the boundaries of firms and to explore the efficacy of contracts. The economic theories he has developed focus on the division of power in economic relationships. "Power is not a standard feature of economic theory," he has said.

Hear from honorary graduate, Professor Oliver Hart, about what the honour means to him and his advice to fellow graduates in a podcast recorded for the Knowledge Centre.