Americans Eugene Fama, Lars Peter Hansen and Robert Shiller won the Nobel prize for economics on Monday for developing new methods to study trends in asset markets.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said the three had laid the foundation of the current understanding of asset prices.

While it’s hard to predict whether stock or bond prices will go up or down in the short term, it’s possible to foresee movements over periods of three years or longer, the academy said.

“These findings, which might seem surprising and contradictory, were made and analyzed by this year’s laureates,” the academy said.

Fama, 74, and Hansen, 60, are associated with the University of Chicago. Shiller, 67, is a professor at Yale University.

American researchers have dominated the economics awards in recent years; the last time there was no American among the winners was in 1999.

The Nobel committees have now announced all six of the annual $1.2 million awards for 2013.

The economics award is not a Nobel Prize in the same sense as the medicine, chemistry, physics, literature and peace prizes, which were created by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel in 1895. Sweden’s central bank added the economics prize in 1968 as a memorial to Nobel.

Robert Shiller: “disbelief” on learning of Nobel win

Nobel economics laureate Robert J Shiller expressed “disbelief” on Monday on learning of his win.

“Disbelief, that is the only way to put it,” the Yale University economist said in a conference call from New Haven.

“People have told me that I would win it, but I’m aware that there are so many other worthy people that I would say, ‘No, I did not expect it,’” he added.

Mr. Shiller said he was “attracted to economics because it deals with really important problems. It’s a vigorous discipline.”

The Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences

The Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences is not one of the original Nobel prizes.

It was created in 1968 by the Swedish Central Bank in memory of Alfred Nobel -- who established the prizes for chemistry, medicine, physics, literature and peace in 1895. The first Economics prize was awarded in 1969.

Because it was set up separately, the award has been controversial in some circles. The Nobel Foundation does not officially recognize it as a Nobel Prize, but as the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.

The award has predominately been given to US economists, a trend that continued this year with the awarding of the prize to Eugene F Fama, Lars Peter Hansen and Robert J Shiller. Only one woman has ever won the award.

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