"The Wolfson economics prize invites the submission of ideas for the orderly exit of one or more members of the euro zone. The one-off award is worth £250,000 ($390,000), making it second only to a Nobel in value for an economics prize." - from the Economist.com Daily Chart accessed Oct. 19th 2011.
To my mind, the appeal of incentive prizes is that they draw attention to stumbling blocks in humanity's quest for knowledge. In 1714 the British government offered a prize to whoever could find a practical means to measure longitude at sea, which they eventually awarded in 1773. Charles Lindbergh claimed a prize of $25000 for crossing the Atlantic in 1927. The X-prize incentives private rockets to explore space. These prizes were awarded for projects that self-evidently knocked over barriers to progress.
Last I heard, the jury of experts was still out on the question of whether the orderly departure of certain countries from the Eurozone would advance progress. In the meantime, this prize encourages the public to design the most efficacious means of execution.
I do not know enough about the European Monetary Union to suggest its appropriate next step. But I am interested in judgment and decision making and my prediction is that the addition of this prize to the debate space will shift its centre of gravity. Once people hear the answer to the question 'how?' the logical next step is to think about 'when'? By that point, it simply doesn't occur to people to ask the question 'why?'
I was prompted to think more deeply about this topic when I learnt that the Wolfson Prize is sponsored by Policy Exchange, a British Euroskeptic think-thank.