“Golden Goose” Award

September 19, 2014

On September 18, economists Preston McAfee, Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson received the Golden Goose Award in a ceremony at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. The award is given annually to federally funded researchers whose “seemingly obscure studies have led to major breakthroughs and resulted in significant societal impact.” A video describing the trio’s work, along with that of the biologists and the physicist who were similarly honored, can be viewed on Vimeo or below.

Quoting the Golden Goose website:

Congressman Jim Cooper (D-TN) originally conceived of the Golden Goose award as a means of educating Members of Congress and the general public about the value of federal funding of basic scientific research. The name of the award is a play on the “Golden Fleece” awards issued between 1975 and 1988 by Senator William Proxmire (D-WI), which targeted specific federally funded research grants as examples of government waste. The name also alludes to the fable of the goose that laid the golden eggs. Researchers who have used federal funding to make their research breakthroughs constitute the “goose,” and the innovations stemming from their work are the “golden eggs.”