Marilda Antonia de Oliveira Sotomayor
Marilda Sotomayor is a Brazilian mathematical economist and game theorist well known for her leading role in the development of methods for the analysis of matching markets, strategic behavior, equilibrium in economic games, and market design. Her work on two-sided matching studied the stability of outcomes such as those where workers match with firms, buyers match with sellers, students match with colleges, and individuals match with partners. Her work on auctions provided mechanisms to achieve optimal outcomes. Her work has facilitated the study of the effects that different rules and constraints generate on the welfare of individuals through the resulting outcomes.
Marilda has written about 50 papers and one book, which made her a well-known researcher, internationally and nationally. However, her contributions to the scientific community go well beyond her writings. She has served as Associate Editor of Econometrica and the Brazilian Review of Econometrics and as guest Editor of the International Journal of Game Theory for the issue “A collection of papers dedicated to David Gale on the occasion of his 85th birthday,” published in 2008.
For her scientific and academic contributions, Marilda has received many academic distinctions, including her election for the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2020 and for the Brazilian Academy of Sciences in 2015, and her appointment as Fellow of the Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory in 2015, of the Game Theory Society in 2017, of the Econometric Society in 2003 and of the J. S. Guggenheim Foundation in 1993. She was honored with the publication in 2015 by the Journal of Dynamics and Games of the Special issue on Matching: Theory and Applications, dedicated to her on the occasion of her 70th birthday.” Also, in 2010 she and Alvin Roth were honored with “Roth and Sotomayor. Twenty years after,” a congress at Duke University celebrating the 20th anniversary of the book “Two-sided Matching: A Study in Game Theoretic Modeling and Analysis.”
However, perhaps the most representative and outstanding scientific contribution of Marilda to Brazil has been the scientific and local organization of three international workshops on Game Theory at the University of São Paulo, in 2002, 2010 and 2014. These workshops, which received the stamp of excellency from the Game Theory Society, brought to Brazil the most renowned researchers in the Theory of Games. More importantly, they contributed to change the scenery from almost total lack of interest on Game Theory at the Brazilian Universities to a new era of increasing interest on this field among Brazilian academics. In fact, before these workshops, Theory of Games was not considered of interest among the Brazilian economists. However, already after the first workshop, an increasing number of courses of Game Theory started being offered in Brazilian universities.
The first workshop had 200 participants, half of them from abroad, and 60 students, almost all of them Brazilian and from São Paulo. There were no funds from the public Research Supporting Institutions because a congress on Game Theory was not priority in Brazil and several Brazilian Universities did not support their students. Similarly, private Institutions, like banks, did not support the congress because they thought that Game Theory was not useful for their business. Despite the financial difficulties, the workshop could take place thanks to the registration fees and the invited participants’ willingness to use their own grants to attend the congress, and it was a big success.
After the first workshop, the situation changed dramatically. For the second workshop, which honored John Nash, FAPESP (Research Foundation of the State of São Paulo) provided funds to cover the travel and accommodation expenses during the 8 days of the workshop for 100 students, 50 Brazilian and 50 from foreign Universities, and for all 30 invited speakers. The congress also received some substantial funds from one of the Brazilian Banks that were used to cover the social activities, transportation from hotels, etc. There were 300 participants, 100 of them students.
The third workshop celebrated the 70th birthday of Marilda. It was an enormous success with more than 400 participants, 150 of them students (90 Brazilian and 60 from foreign Universities). The congress received funds from FAPESP and three Banks provided complementary funds.
The workshops brought to Brazil the most important world experts in Game Theory, including Nobel laureates in Economics Robert Aumann (who participated in the three meetings), Robert Myerson (in the first two meetings), Eric Maskin and John Nash (who attended the last two workshops), and Alvin Roth (in the last meeting). However, the relevance of the workshops goes beyond this. In each of the workshops, Marilda organized a School of Advanced Sciences in Game Theory. All of them lasted 8 days and, besides the lectures given by 30 prominent senior researchers, fellows of the Econometric Society, each included 7 mini-courses toughed by famous specialists. The list of teachers includes Nobel prizes Robert Aumann and Alvin Roth; Shmuel Zamir, editor of the International Journal of Game Theory and William Thomson, past-editor of that Journal; Myrna Wooders, editor of the Journal of Public Economic Theory; Steven Brams, past president of the Public Choice Society; Vijay Krishna, co-editor of the International Journal of Game Theory; Mattew Jackson (Stanford University), Paul Milgrom (Sanford Universiy), Hervé Moulin (Glasgow University), and Roberto Serrano (Brown Universiy).
The workshops increased the visibility of the University of São Paulo in the academic world and facilitate the dissemination of the Theory of Games among the Brazilian students and scholars. They provided a stimulating and intellectual environment, a unique opportunity in Brazil for interaction among young researchers from several countries with their Brazilian peers. In particular, every student presented a poster on his/her thesis project in a poster session with the massive participation of the senior researchers. For example, John Nash attended all the poster sessions and always addressed the expositors.
The areas of interest of Marilda are: Game Theory, Matching markets, and Market Design. Her research has been supported in part by grants from the CNPq, where she is researcher 1A, the highest category of researcher in CNPq.