WHO IS 'John Harsanyi'

John C. Harsanyi (1920-2000) was an economist who, along with John Nash and Reinhard Selten, won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences 1994 for his research on game theory, a mathematical system for predicting the outcomes of competitions and conflicts. Harsanyi was also noted for the effect f his contributions to moral philosophy.

BREAKING DOWN 'John Harsanyi'

John Harsanyi is best known for his contributions to the study of game theory and its application to economics, specifically for his developing the highly innovative analysis of games of incomplete information, so-called Bayesian games. He also made important contributions to the use of game theory and economic reasoning in political and moral philosophy (specifically utilitarian ethics) as well as contributing to the study of equilibrium selection.

John Harsanyi Background

Born in 1920 in Budapest to a Jewish pharmacist, Harsanyi survived the Nazi occupation of Hungary; he and his future wife fled the country's increasingly Communist regime in 1950, making their way to Australia before coming to the United States. Having earned a M.A. in economics from the University of Sydney, he went on to earn a Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University and began studying mathematics and statistics, in preparation to work in the field of game theory; his interest in topic had been sparked in the early 1950s by John Nash's papers on cooperative, non-cooperative, and bargaining games, as well as on mutually optimal threat strategies in such games.

In 1964, after a two-year stint at Wayne State University, he became a professor at the Business School of the University of California, Berkeley. Although he had published several papers in the '50s, it was at Berkeley that his game theory researches began to blossom.

Selected Works of John Harsanyi

In a three-part paper published in 1967 and 1968, Harsani showed how to convert a game with incomplete information into one with complete yet imperfect information, so as to make it accessible to game-theoretic analysis. In 197,3 he showed that "almost all" mixed-strategy Nash equilibria can be reinterpreted as pure-strategy strict equilibria of a suitably chosen game with randomly fluctuating payoff functions.

He also published four books.Two of them, Two books, Essays on Ethics, Social Behavior, and Scientific Explanation (1976), and Papers in Game Theory (1982), were collections of journal articles. Rational Behavior and Bargaining Equilibrium in Games and Social Situations (1977), was an attempt to unify game theory by extending the use of bargaining models from cooperative games also to noncooperative games. A General Theory of Equilibrium Selection in Games (1988) was a joint work with Reinhard Selten. 

Additional Notes

Harsanyi remained at Berkeley for the rest of his career. He also held a honorary degree of Doctor of Science from Northwestern University. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and several economist societies.

John Harsanyi died on August 9, 2000, from a heart attack, in Berkeley.

  1. Nash Equilibrium

    The Nash Equilibrium is a concept within game theory where the ...
  2. Robert J. Aumann

    Robert J Aumann is a mathematician and economist famous for his ...
  3. Traveler's Dilemma

    The traveler's dilemma demonstrates the paradox of rationality ...
  4. Contract Theory

    Contract theory is the study of how individuals and businesses ...
  5. Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma

    Iterated prisoner's dilemma is played repeatedly by the same ...
  6. Robert E. Lucas Jr.

    Robert E. Lucas Jr. is an American economist who won the 1995 ...
Related Articles
  1. Insights

    5 Nobel Prize-Winning Economic Theories You Should Know About

    Here are 5 prize-winning economic theories that you’ll want to be familiar with.
  2. Tech

    How To Game The Video Game Industry

    Investopedia explores the business, current developments, future trends of video games industry and how the overall industry makes money.
  3. Tech

    How The Video Game Industry Is Changing

    Video game creation has become increasingly complex, and the cost of creating a game to run on one of the major consoles has risen with this greater complexity.
  4. Tech

    You Love Video Games, But Do You Know How The Industry Works?

    Traditionally, the video game industry was limited to consoles, such as Microsoft’s (MSFT) Xbox and Sony’s (SNE) PlayStation, but it now includes PC games, mobile games and, in the near future, ...
  5. Investing

    Gaming Stocks to Watch in 2017 (ATVI, NTES)

    2016 was the best year in history for the video game industry. Will 2017 be even stronger?
  6. Investing

    Power Up Your Portfolio With Video Game Stocks

    Level up your winnings by investing in this fast-paced, highly skilled industry.
  7. Tech

    Global Video Game Sales to Reach $91B in 2016

    New research from SuperData shows global interactive entertainment revenue up for the year.
  8. Investing

    5 Video Game Stocks to Power up your Portfolio

    Learn about some of the biggest players in this multibillion dollar industry!
  9. Insights

    Investors May Love the Fast Action in Video Games

    Video game companies that were once whipsawed by the "ship it and forget it" game cycle, are now thriving as they sell their games digitally.
  10. Investing

    Why Video Game Stocks' Hot Streak May Get Hotter

    Surging in-game spending by hardcore players should propel video game stocks even higher.
  1. Why is game theory useful in business?

    The concepts of game theory became a revolutionary interdisciplinary phenomenon, but they are still relevant for business ... Read Answer >>
  2. What is the difference between a dominant strategy solution and a Nash equilibrium ...

    Dive into game theory and the Nash equilibrium, and learn why the equilibrium assumptions about information are less important ... Read Answer >>
  3. What is the chaos theory?

    The chaos theory is a complicated and disputed mathematical theory that seeks to explain the effect of seemingly insignificant ... Read Answer >>
  4. What are some examples of the law of demand in real markets?

    Find out how the price of a good or service affects the quantity demanded, and explore instances of consumption reflecting ... Read Answer >>
  5. How does money supply affect inflation?

    Learn about two competing economic theories of the role of the money supply and whether money supply causes inflation in ... Read Answer >>
  6. How do I differentiate between micro and macro economics?

    Differentiating between microeconomics and macroeconomics is primarily concerned with the difference of the scales of the ... Read Answer >>
Trading Center