Sneha Girap (Editor)

Thomas Schelling

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Nationality  American
Field  Game theory

Name  Thomas Schelling
Role  Economist
Thomas Schelling Thomas Schelling School of Public Policy

Born  April 14, 1921 (age 102) (1921-04-14) Oakland, California, U.S.
Institution  Yale UniversityHarvard UniversityUniversity of MarylandNew England Complex Systems Institute
Alma mater  University of California, BerkeleyHarvard University
Influences  Carl von Clausewitz, Niccolo Machiavelli
Influenced  Tyler Cowen, Mark Kleiman, Robert Jervis
Spouse  Alice M. Coleman (m. 1991), Corinne Tigay Saposs (m. 1947–1991)
Parents  Zelda M. Ayres, John M. Schelling
Education  Yale University, Harvard University, University of California, Berkeley
Awards  Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences
Books  The Strategy of Conflict, Micromotives and Macrobehavior, Arms and Influence, Choice and Consequence, Strategies of commitm
Similar People  Robert Aumann, Michael Spence, Edmund Phelps, Morton Halperin, Kenneth Arrow

Thomas schelling professor of national security at university of maryland

Thomas Crombie Schelling (April 14, 1921 – December 13, 2016) was an American economist and professor of foreign policy, national security, nuclear strategy, and arms control at the School of Public Policy at University of Maryland, College Park. He was 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".


Thomas Schelling wwwnobelprizeorgnobelprizeseconomicsciences

A conversation with thomas schelling part 1

Early years

Thomas Schelling Thomas Schelling Professor of National Security at

Schelling was born on April 14, 1921 in Oakland, California. Schelling graduated from San Diego High. He received his bachelor's degree in economics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1944. He received his PhD in economics from Harvard University in 1951.


Thomas Schelling A oneonone with Thomas Schelling Nick Chan

He served with the Marshall Plan in Europe, the White House, and the Executive Office of the President from 1948 to 1953. 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 John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Thomas Schelling Economics 2005 Nobel Prize on emaze

Schelling previously taught for twenty years at Harvard's Kennedy School, where he was the Lucius N. Littauer Professor of Political Economy, as well as conducting research at International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), in Laxenburg, Austria, between 1994 and 1999.

In 1990, he left Harvard and joined the University of Maryland School of Public Policy and Department of Economics.

In 1993 Schelling was awarded the Award for Behavior Research Relevant to the Prevention of Nuclear War from the National Academy of Sciences. He also received an honorary doctorate from Yale University in 2009 as well as an honorary degree from the University of Manchester.

He was awarded the 2005 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences along with Robert Aumann for "having enhanced our understanding of conflict and cooperation through game-theory analysis".

Schelling was a contributing participant of the Copenhagen Consensus.

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 began later in 1991.

He died on December 13, 2016 in Bethesda, Maryland from complications following a hip fracture at the age of 95.

The Strategy of Conflict (1960)

The Strategy of Conflict, which Schelling published in 1960, pioneered the study of bargaining and strategic behavior in what Schelling refers to as "conflict behavior". The Times Literary Supplement in 1995 listed it as one of the hundred most influential books since 1945. In this book he introduced concepts like focal point and credible commitment. Chapter headings include "A Reorientation of Game Theory," "Randomization of Promises and Threats," and "Surprise Attack: A Study of Mutual Distrust."

In an article celebrating Schelling's Nobel Memorial Prize for Economics, Michael Kinsley, Washington Post op‑ed columnist and one of Schelling's former students, anecdotally summarizes Schelling's reorientation of game theory thus: "[Y]ou're standing at the edge of a cliff, chained by the ankle to someone else. You'll be released, and one of you will get a large prize, as soon as the other gives in. How do you persuade the other guy to give in, when the only method at your disposal – threatening to push him off the cliff – would doom you both? Answer: You start dancing, closer and closer to the edge. That way, you don't have to convince him that you would do something totally irrational: plunge him and yourself off the cliff. You just have to convince him that you are prepared to take a higher risk than he is of accidentally falling off the cliff. If you can do that, you win."

Arms and Influence (1966)

Schelling's theories about war were extended in Arms and Influence, published in 1966. The blurb states that it "carries forward the analysis so brilliantly begun in his earlier The Strategy of Conflict (1960) and Strategy and Arms Control (with Morton Halperin, 1961), and makes a significant contribution to the growing literature on modern war and diplomacy". Chapter headings include The Diplomacy of Violence, The Diplomacy of Ultimate Survival and The Dynamics of Mutual Alarm.

Micromotives and Macrobehavior (1978)

In 1969 and 1971, Schelling published widely cited articles dealing with racial dynamics and what he termed "a general theory of tipping". In these papers he showed that a preference that one's neighbors be of the same color, or even a preference for a mixture "up to some limit", could lead to total segregation, thus arguing that motives, malicious or not, were indistinguishable as to explaining the phenomenon of complete local separation of distinct groups. He used coins on graph paper to demonstrate his theory by placing pennies and dimes in different patterns on the "board" and then moving them one by one if they were in an "unhappy" situation.

Schelling's dynamics has been cited as a way of explaining variations that are found in what are regarded as meaningful differences – gender, age, race, ethnicity, language, sexual preference, and religion. Once a cycle of such change has begun, it may have a self-sustaining momentum. His 1978 book Micromotives and Macrobehavior expanded on and generalized these themes and is often cited in the literature of agent-based computational economics.

Global warming

Schelling had been involved in the global warming debate since chairing a commission for President Jimmy Carter in 1980. He believed 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 Marshall Plan after World War II, he had 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.

Stanley Kubrick read an article Schelling wrote that included a description of the Peter George novel Red Alert, and conversations between Kubrick, Schelling, and George eventually led to the 1964 movie Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

Schelling is also cited for the first known use of the phrase collateral damage in his May 1961 article Dispersal, Deterrence, and Damage.


Thomas Schelling Wikipedia