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Jean-Jacques Marcel Laffont (April 13, 1947 – May 1, 2004) was a French economist specializing in public economics and information economics. Educated at the University of Toulouse and the Ecole Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Administration Economique (ENSAE) in Paris, he was awarded the Ph.D. in Economics by Harvard University in 1975.

Jean-Jacques Laffont
Born (1947-04-13)April 13, 1947
Toulouse, France
Died May 1, 2004(2004-05-01) (aged 57)
Nationality French
Institution University of Southern California
University of Toulouse
École Polytechnique
Field Microeconomics
Alma mater University of Toulouse, Harvard University (Ph.D., 1975)
Kenneth Arrow
Jerry R. Green
Roger Guesnerie
Gilbert Aké
David Martimort (fr)
Contributions Public economics
disequilibrium econometrics
Information econometrics, especially asymmetry
Awards Yrjö Jahnsson Award (1993)
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

Laffont taught at the École Polytechnique (1975–1987), and was Professor of Economics at Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales (1980–2004) and at the University of Toulouse I (1991–2001). In 1991, he founded Toulouse's Industrial Economics Institute (Institut D'Economie Industrielle, IDEI) which has become one of the most prominent European research centres in economics. From 2001 until his death, he was the inaugural holder of the University of Southern California's John Elliott Chair in Economics. Over the course of his career, he wrote 17 books and more than 200 articles.[1] Had he lived, he might well have shared the 2014 Nobel Prize for Economics awarded to his colleague and collaborator Jean Tirole.[2][3]


Contribution to economicsEdit

Laffont made pioneering contributions in microeconomics, in particular, public economics, development economics, and the theory of imperfect information, incentives, and regulation. His 1993 book A Theory of Incentives in Procurement and Regulation, written with Jean Tirole, is a fundamental reference in the economics of the public sector and the theory of regulation. In 2002, he published (with David Martimort) The Theory of Incentives: the Principal-Agent Model, a treatise on the economics of information and incentives. His last book, Regulation and Development, discussed policies for improving the economies of less developed countries.


Jean-Jacques Laffont was diagnosed with cancer in autumn 2002 and died of the disease at his home in Colomiers in the Haute Garonne region of southern France on May 1, 2004. He was survived by his wife, Colette; his daughters Cécile, Bénédicte and Charlotte; and his son, Bertrand.

Awards and honorsEdit

Selected publicationsEdit


  • Laffont, Jean-Jacques (1979). Aggregation and revelation of preferences. Amsterdam New York New York: North-Holland Publishing Co. sole distributors for the U.S.A. and Canada, Elsevier North-Holland. ISBN 9780444853264. 
  • Laffont, Jean-Jacques; Tirole, Jean (1993). A theory of incentives in procurement and regulation. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. ISBN 9780262121743. 
  • Laffont, Jean-Jacques (2000). Incentives and Political Economy (Clarendon Lectures in Economics). Oxford, UK New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198294245. 
  • Laffont, Jean-Jacques; Martimort, David (2002). The theory of incentives: the principal-agent model. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691091846. 
  • Laffont, Jean-Jacques (2005). Regulation and development. Cambridge, UK New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521549486. 

Chapters in booksEdit


  1. ^ Martin, Douglas (14 May 2004). "Jean-Jacques Laffont, Economist, Dies at 57". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  2. ^ Treanor, Jill (13 October 2014). "Jean Tirole wins Nobel prize for economics 2014". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  3. ^ "It’s complicated. Jean Tirole has won the Nobel prize in economics for his work on competition". The Economist. 18 October 2014. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 

External linksEdit