US economists Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson have won the Nobel Prize in economics for "improvements to auction theory and inventions of new auction formats".
The winners were announced on Monday in Stockholm by Goran Hansson, secretary-general of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
"The new auction formats are a beautiful example of how basic research can subsequently generate inventions that benefit society," the academy said in a statement.
"Auctions are everywhere and affect our everyday lives. This year's Economic Sciences Laureates, Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson, have improved auction theory and invented new auction formats, benefiting sellers, buyers and taxpayers around the world," the Nobel Prize's official website tweeted.
New auction formats have been used for radio spectra, fishing quotas, aircraft landing slots and emissions allowances.
Both economists are based at Stanford University in California.
The award caps a week of Nobel Prizes at a time when much of the world is experiencing the worst recession since World War II because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The award comes with a 10 million krona ($A1.6 million) cash prize and a gold medal.
The traditional gala winners' dinner in December has been cancelled and other parts of the celebrations are being held digitally to avoid the risk of spreading the infection.
On Monday, the Nobel Committee awarded the prize for physiology and medicine for discovering the liver-ravaging hepatitis C virus.
Tuesday's prize for physics honoured breakthroughs in understanding the mysteries of cosmic black holes, and the chemistry prize on Wednesday went to scientists behind a powerful gene-editing tool.
The literature prize was awarded to American poet Louise Gluck on Thursday for her "candid and uncompromising" work.
The World Food Program won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for its effort to combat hunger worldwide.