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French economist Jean Tirole wins Nobel prize

French economist Jean Tirole
French economist Jean Tirole AFP/Eric CABANIS

French economist Jean Tirole has won the Nobel prize for Economics, it was announced on Monday. He is the second Frenchman to be honoured this year after the literature prize was awarded to writer Patrick Modiano on Friday.

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"Tirole is one of the most influential economists of our time" the jury of the Royal Academy of Sciences said on Monday.

Tirole won the prize for his analysis of big companies, market power and regulation.

The 61-year-old economist fromToulouse university showed that market regulations should be carefully adapted to the conditions of specific industries, instead of applying general regulations such as price caps which can do more harm than good.

"It's a big surprise," Tirole told French Agency AFP in a telephone interview, "one is never a very good judge of one's own work and so it was not something I was counting on!"

Over the past decade, economists from the United States have dominated prize-winners - 18 out of 20 -  with only a few winners coming from other parts of the world.

Previous winners include well-known figures such as Paul Krugman, Milton Friedman, Friedrich August von Hayek and Joseph Stiglitz.

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