They’re rattling through my favourite people in economics. In recent years, there’s been Kahneman, Smith, Akerlof, Sen. I thought Tom Schelling had surely missed out what with the cavalcade of game theorists who’s won. And he’s getting on.
But he’s joint winner this year (with Robert Aumann). Cool. His stuff is easy to read but deep.
Here’s the end to a short article of his in the top journal in economics “Altruism, Meanness and Other Potentially Strategic Behaviors” American Economic Review. It’s such a cool article. No regressions, no equations, no data.
I think I get some of it but can you put it into context? Is he saying that these are the behaviours exhibited by humans today? In the past? Under what circumstances and how do they manifest themselves?
It’s interesting but without context, I’m finding it hard to wrap my head around what he is trying to say.
Yes, indeed. Some of Schelling’s work is on the question of self command (how should I act if I don’t trust myself?)
As for what this stuff’s all about, try the official Nobel screed (.pdf)
As it turns out, the article I mention isn’t cited in the bibliography there. (Most of the talk is about The Strategy of Conflict. This is a little book that anyone with a high school education could read and think about.)
Obviously I can’t quote the whole thing, but here’s a little more context :
No. t.s. elliott is an easy read. This took me 5 passes and I’m only beginning to get what he’s saying and I think I’m a pretty bright kid. That someone could write about this, let alone get comfortable enough with it mentally to make the idea dance well enough for a Nobel Prize is one thing. But for other people to read it and go “Aha!” as opposed to “WITCH!” makes me feel barely worth of reading the cover of a Mad Magazine.