Thomas C. Schelling


Thomas C. Schelling

Photo: T. Zadig

Thomas C. Schelling
The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2005

Born: 14 April 1921, Oakland, CA, USA

Died: 13 December 2016, Bethesda, MD, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: University of Maryland, Department of Economics and School of Public Policy, College Park, MD, USA

Prize motivation: “for having enhanced our understanding of conflict and cooperation through game-theory analysis”

Prize share: 1/2


Thomas Schelling was born in Oakland, USA, and spent most of his boyhood in California. He attended Harvard University, where he received his Ph.D. in 1948. Schelling served with the Marshall Plan in Europe, the White House and the Executive Office of the President from 1948-1953. He conducted research at several institutions in the US. He died in Maryland in 2016.


Thomas Schelling specialized in the application of game theory to cases in which adversaries must repeatedly interact, especially in international trade, treaties and conflicts. His work prompted new developments in game theory and accelerated its use and application throughout the social sciences. Schelling’s analysis of strategic commitments has explained a wide range of phenomena, from the competitive strategies of firms to the delegation of political decision power.

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