Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Thomas Schelling

Here is a description of the work of one of yesterday's Nobel prize winners, which is offered in commentary in the WSJ [subscription required] by David Henderson:
"Mr. Schelling did it as a true social scientist, with spectacular results. His thinking led to important insights in areas ranging from nuclear war to figuring out meeting places to traffic jams to racial segregation. His specialty was understanding the behavior of real humans, and game theory was one of his tools. But it was just that -- a tool. Instead of using formal proofs, Mr. Schelling first told illustrative stories and then, using words, showed why things happened the way they did. As Harvard economist Richard Zeckhauser wrote in a 1989 tribute, Mr. Schelling 'stayed away from the Journal of Advanced Economic Gobbledygook' and played 'his games in a world that is richer than most game theory analyses.'"

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