Three American's were awarded the Nobel Prize today. Eugene Fama had long been an expectant Nobel Prize winner for his development of the efficient market theory in finance. Lars Hansen's reputation for sophisticated techniques in empirical analysis and pure theory have been recognized for over 30 years. Ironically, I just purchased a book of Hansen's (co-authored with Sargent) on Robustness, which is focused on estimation techniques as they related to decision making. Fama and Hansen are both professors at the University of Chicago (have economists from the same university won in the same year before?).
Robert Shiller is the third Nobel Prize winner this year, and the one most comfortable with the media -- so expect to here a lot from him in the popular press. My suspicion will be that Shiller's work on asset bubbles will be picked up by journalists and the focus will be on the irrationality of financial markets in opposition to the efficient market hypothesis. I do hope that the journalists also read Shiller's recent essay which raises doubts about the economist as social engineer, and a demand for economists to be philosophically self-aware. I also always really liked this paper on citizen attitudes toward markets in Moscow and NYC.
This is a very worthy Nobel by all three individuals. I do think the popular media could potentially see more of a stark contrast between Fama's efficient markets and Shiller's asset bubbles than there actually is, but that is just the way economc ideas are often translated into popular discourse. To see a discussion of (Fama vs Shiller) vs the Common-Sense Political Economy of Mainline Economics see my paper "What Happened to 'Efficient Markets'?"