Scientific Background, The Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences 2007. Economic transactions take place in markets, within firms and under a host of other institutional arrangements. Some markets are free of government intervention while others are regulated. Within firms, some transactions are guided by market prices, some are negotiated, and yet others are dictated by management. Mechanism design theory provides a coherent framework for analyzing this great variety of institutions, or "allocation mechanisms", with a focus on the problems associated with incentives and private information.