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UC Berkeley Nobel Prize Winner Oliver Williamson Dies

BERKELEY (CBS SF) -- University of California-Berkeley professor Oliver Williamson, who won a Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2009, passed away this week following a period of failing health, the university announced Sunday.

Williamson, who died Thursday at the age of 87, won the Nobel Prize for what UC Berkeley officials said were his insights into what is known as the "make or buy" decision, in which businesses choose whether to outsource a process, service or other function or keep the work in-house.

"Williamson's work permanently changed how economists view organizations," said professor Rich Lyons, UC Berkeley's chief innovation and
entrepreneurship officer.

He donated a large portion of his Nobel Prize to the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business to create a new endowed faculty chair in the
economics of organization, and the Haas School has also named its highest faculty honor after him as the Williamson Award.

Lyons, who was the dean of the Haas school when Williamson won the Nobel Prize, said he would remember his colleague for his work in teaching others.

"For all of his intellectual creativity, I most often think of only as a person who lifts others. The ripple effects that he has had on his field through his students and colleagues could well be as large as the enormous impact his own work had," Lyons said.

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