Oliver Williamson is pictured with his 2009 Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences. The longtime UC Berkeley professor died at the age of 87. (Photo courtesy of UC Berkeley Haas School of Business)

A University of California at Berkeley professor who won a Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences passed away this month following a period of failing health, according to the university.

Oliver Williamson, who died May 21 at the age of 87, won the Nobel Prize in 2009 for what UC Berkeley officials said were his insights into what is known as the “make or buy” decision, in which businesses choose whether to outsource a process, service or other function or keep the work in-house.

“Williamson's work permanently changed how economists view organizations,” said professor Rich Lyons, UC Berkeley's chief innovation and entrepreneurship officer.

Williamson donated a large portion of his Nobel Prize to the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business to create a new endowed faculty chair in the economics of organization, and the Haas School has also named its highest faculty honor after him as the Williamson Award.

Lyons, who was the dean of the Haas school when Williamson won the Nobel Prize, said he would remember his colleague for his work in teaching others.

“For all of his intellectual creativity, I most often think of Olly as a person who lifts others. The ripple effects that he has had on his field through his students and colleagues could well be as large as the enormous impact his own work had,” Lyons said.

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