Nobel Prize winner visits WSU to celebrate new Woolsey Hall laboratory 


Maegan Vincent

Nobel prize winner Vernon Smith visits Woolsey Hall. On Nov 30, Smith gave a presentation in the Barton School of Business’s newly opened behavioral economics laboratory.

Nobel Memorial Prize Winner Vernon Smith returned to his hometown to give a presentation for the opening ceremony of Wichita State’s Behavioral Economics Laboratory Wednesday afternoon. 

“We just moved in [to Woolsey Hall] about two or three months ago,” Larissa Genin, dean of the business school, said. “Everything in the Barton School of Business is all about student experience, student success … and the new Behavioral Research Lab was built and established under the inspiration of Nobel laureate Dr. Vernon Smith.”

Smith, winner of the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, gave his presentation “Proprietary, Property, and Price Discovery in Adam Smith’s Classical Economics” to celebrate the opening of WSU’s Behavioral Economics Laboratory. 

“I would predict that your new laboratory is going to change the lives of people in this room,” Smith said.

Smith won his Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics Sciences for his contributions to behavioral economics and his work in the newly developed field of experimental economics. Smith’s work in the field led to the discovery of how to create a competitive equilibrium in any market. In Smith’s experiment, he found the performance rate of alternative trading mechanisms. Smith and his coauthors discovered that the pre-existing rate of supply and demand is not the only way to calculate trading mechanisms.

“I was astounded at the result,” Smith said. “I actually ended up doing more experiments and that’s what brought me into experimental economics. I assure you, I never intended to get into the field.”

Inspiration for the new laboratory was taken from Smith’s achievements.

“Our goal with the behavioral economics laboratory is to not only glean insights from human behavior but also inspire others to learn just as Vernon has done,” Larissa Genin said.

In Vernon Smith’s presentation, he discussed “The Theory of Moral Sentiments” by Adam Smith and how moral ideas play into economics. Smith also went into detail about the beneficent actions that enable society to flourish.