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Thomas Schelling
Thomas Schelling.jpg
Lecturing at Sharif University of Technology
Birth 14 April 1921 (1921-04-14) (age 88)
Oakland, California, USA
Nationality  United States
Institution Yale University
Harvard University
University of Maryland
New England Complex Systems Institute
Field Game theory
Alma mater University of California, Berkeley
Harvard University
Yale University
Contributions The Strategy of Conflict
Awards Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (2005)
Information at IDEAS/RePEc

Thomas Crombie Schelling (born 14 April 1921) is an American economist and professor of foreign affairs, national security, nuclear strategy, and arms control at the School of Public Policy at University of Maryland, College Park. He is also co-faculty at the New England Complex Systems Institute. He was awarded the 2005 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (shared with Robert Aumann) for "having enhanced our understanding of conflict and cooperation through game-theory analysis."

Contents

Biography

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Early years

Schelling was born to John M. Schelling and Zelda M. Zyres in Oakland, California. He received his bachelor's degree in economics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1944. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University in 1951. He also received an honorary Doctorate degree from Yale University in 2009.

Career

He served with the Marshall Plan in Europe, the White House, and the Executive Office of the President from 1948 to 1953.[1] He wrote most of his dissertation on national income behavior working at night while in Europe. He left government to join the economics faculty at Yale University, and in 1958 he was appointed Professor of Economics at Harvard. In 1969 he joined the Kennedy School at Harvard University.[1]

Schelling's book, The Strategy of Conflict (1960),[2] has pioneered the study of bargaining and strategic behavior and is considered one of the hundred books that have been most influential in the West since 1945.[3] In this book he introduced the concept of focal point.

Schelling's economic theories about war were extended in Arms and Influence (1966).

In 1969, he published a widely cited article dealing with racial dynamics called "Models of Segregation"[4]. In this paper he showed that a small preference for one's neighbors to be of the same color could lead to total segregation. He used coins on graph paper to demonstrate his theory by placing pennies and nickels in different patterns on the "board" and then moving them one by one if they were in an "unhappy" situation. The positive feedback cycle of segregation - prejudice - in-group preference can be found in most human populations, with great variation in what are regarded as meaningful differences – gender, age, race, ethnicity, language, sexual preference, religion, etc. Once a cycle of separation-prejudice-discrimination-separation has begun, it has a self-sustaining momentum.

Schelling has been involved in the global warming debate since chairing a commission for President Carter in 1980. He believes climate change poses a serious threat to developing nations, but that the threat to the United States has been exaggerated. Drawing on his experience with the post-war Marshall Plan, he has argued that addressing global warming is a bargaining problem: if the world is able to reduce emissions, poor countries will receive most of the benefits but rich countries will bear most of the costs.

Schelling previously taught for twenty years at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he was the Lucius N. Littauer Professor of Political Economy, as well as conducted research at IIASA, in Laxenburg, Austria between 1994 and 1999.

Schelling was a contributing participant of the Copenhagen Consensus.[1]

Personal life

Schelling was married to Corinne Tigay Saposs from 1947 to 1991, with whom he had four sons. His marriage to second wife, Alice M. Coleman occurred later that year.[5]

See also

Bibliography

References

  1. ^ a b c "Curriculum Vitae: Thomas C. Schelling". University of Maryland School of Public Policy. 2008. http://www.puaf.umd.edu/facstaff/faculty/SchellingCV.htm. Retrieved 2008-09-18.  
  2. ^ Schelling, Thomas, The Strategy of Conflict, copyright 1960, 1980, Harvard University Press, ISBN 0674840313.
  3. ^ The Hundred Most Influential Books since the War
  4. ^ Schelling, T. (1969). Models of segregation. The American Economic Review, 59(2), 488-493.
  5. ^ "Thomas C. Schelling". The Notable Names Database. 2008. http://www.nndb.com/people/332/000116981/. Retrieved 2008-11-18.  

External links


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