PARIS (AP) – Award-winning French economist Jean-Jacques Laffont, one of the leading figures in the study of information theory has died, associates said Friday. He was 57. Laffont died of cancer at his home in Colomiers in the Haute Garonne region of southern France on May 1, according to Marie-Pierre Boe, who worked with Laffont.

Born in Toulouse, he received doctorates in economics from Harvard and applied mathematics from the National School for Statistics and Economic Administration in France.

Laffont later became an economics professor of international renown, working at various universities and institutions, including the University of Toulouse in France and the University of Southern California. He was invited to lecture at universities around the world.

He worked for the French prime minister on the economic analysis council and was an associate editor of numerous scientific journals. Laffont’s work helped give the University of Toulouse one of the most prestigious economics departments in Europe.

Laffont was a prolific writer, publishing 17 books and more than 200 articles. One of these books, “Incentives in Public Decision Making” published in 1979 – as well as numerous articles co-written with Jerry Green in the 1970s – are still considered references in the field.

His work ranged from studying the effects of public incentives on regulation to promoting research in developing areas such as China, Africa and Latin America. Shortly before his death, he finished the manuscript for a book dealing with governmental regulation in developing countries for Cambridge University Press.

Considered by colleagues as a possible Nobel Prize candidate, Laffont was named the first French president of the most prestigious economics society, Econometrics, in 1992 and was awarded the Legion of Honor in 2002.

He is survived by his wife and four children.

AP-ES-05-14-04 1423EDT

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