Northwestern’s claim on this Nobel Prize is no more valid than U of C’s (and perhaps other schools as well) , because (1) “much” – but not “all” – of Meyerson’s work on mechanism design was done at Northwestern, which means that “much” – if not “most” – was done somewhere else, and (2) Meyerson left Northwestern 6 years ago!
All this does is show that it is unfair for ANY institution to lay claim on what is actually an award given to an individual (or individuals, as in this particular case). Particularly in fields like economics and sciences, the Nobel prize is given for a body of work – work that takes years to develop – and not just for a single experiment or published paper. And during that time, the recipient may have moved from place to place.
I do agree with you that Nobel winner counts by schools are “unfair.” I also think they are “totally bogus.”