by Erik Sherman

Going once, going twice—the winners of this year’s Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences are two Stanford economists whose work lets the world make mobile phone calls, switch on a light, and buy and sell on eBay.

Robert Wilson and Paul Milgrom, are famous for their groundbreaking work on auction theory. They took the 2,500-year-old practice of selling goods to the highest bidder and transformed how they worked and how the world looked at a result.

One of the major areas they developed was analysis of how the rules that govern auctions affect the efficiency of the outcomes—how bidders get the value they want, sellers maximize their income, and the process can happen more easily and quickly. Then they found ways to move beyond the fast-talking and gavel-banging stereotype of an auction and into many new types that new rules could enable.

“Sometimes the invisible hand of the

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FILE PHOTO: The company logo for AT&T is displayed on a screen on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., September 18, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal on Friday called on AT&T Inc T.N to stop pursuing plans to offer cellphone plans partially subsidized by advertising that he said would undermine consumer privacy.

“Consumers expect that their phone and broadband providers are not spying on their phone calls and web browsing or using their private data for commercial gain,” Blumenthal, a Democrat, wrote in a letter to AT&T Chief Executive John Stankey.

The request follows a Reuters interview with Stankey this week in which he discussed a plan to discount cellphone bills as early as a year from now.

“I believe there’s a segment of our customer base where given a choice, they would take some load of advertising for

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