Today’s English lesson is related to the 2020 Nobel Prize awarded in Economics. We will work with an extract of a magazine article where I’ve highlighted some useful English vocabulary that you might not know.

The title of the article is:

U.S. Auction Theorists Win the 2020 Nobel in Economics

The article is about how Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson, two academics, were honored for their work with auction theory. Pay attention to the bolded words:

Mr. Wilson “was the first to create a framework” for auctions of items with a common value, according to the prize committee. In his work, he explained that bidders will offer less than they think the object or service is worth because they are afraid of overpaying — the winner’s curse — even more acutely when they are at an information disadvantage.

Source: The New York Times, October 12, 2020.

The first word we want to look at is framework. A framework is a support structure or system that holds parts together. Frameworks can be conceptual, or real.

The next word is auction. The phrase was: Mr. Wilson “was the first to create a framework” for auctions of items with a common value. An auction is a public sale where something is sold to the one who offers the most. By the way, you can also use auction as a verb, but you need to add the word “off”. Here is an example of what I mean. The state auctioned off the highway concession project.

The next word ties in with auction. It is bidder. A bidder is the person or entity who makes an offer at an auction. We can use bid as a verb, too, as in: A bidder bids at an auction. Here is an example: She bid  for the Van Gogh painting at the art auction.

The next word is curse. In this case, the word curse means something that will bring forth some kind of supernatural harm. Not a good thing, is it? An as a verb, “To curse” is to wish that harm happens to somebody else. And the winner’s curse? Well, that the tendency for the winning bid in an auction to be higher than the item is worth.

That’s all for this lesson. I hope you found it helpful and interesting. Take a few more moments now to read the entire article that we referenced in the lesson:

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