Who was 'Thomas C. Schelling'

Thomas C. Schelling is an American economist who won the 2005 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, along with Robert J. Aumann, for his research on conflict and cooperation via game theory. His research has been used in conflict resolution and war avoidance. Many of his research interests have been related to national security, energy and environmental policy, and ethical issues in public policy and business. Mr. Schelling died on December 13, 2016.

BREAKING DOWN 'Thomas C. Schelling'

Thomas Crombie Schelling was born in California on April 14, 1921. He graduated from San Diego High School and went on to attend the University of California, Berkeley. He graduated from there with a degree in economics in 1944. After spending a year and a half with the U.S. Bureau of the Budget, he enrolled at Harvard University and completed the Ph.D. program in 1948.

Professional Life

Mr. Schelling held several professional positions during his career, all of which aided his theoretical contributions to economics. After completing his studies at Harvard, he joined the team in charge of administering the Marshall Plan, a U.S.-backed plan to rebuild Europe following World War II. He joined the White House Staff of the foreign policy advisor to the President in 1950, which later became the Office of the Director for Mutual Security. In 1953, Mr. Schelling left that position to join the faculty at Yale University. In 1956, he joined the RAND Corporation. He later taught at both Harvard and the University of Maryland School of Public Policy.

Contributions to Economic Theory

Mr. Schelling is best known for his studies and theories on strategic behavior, or anticipating the behavior of others, and wrote many books and articles on the topic. In 1960, he wrote The Strategy of Conflict, which studied what Schelling referred to as "conflict behavior." The book introduced far-reaching concepts like "focal point," which is also known as the Schelling point, and refers to a solution reached by non-communicating parties in a negotiation based on each party's expectation of what the other party will do. He wrote a series of papers, which were later published as the book Micromotives and Macrobehavior in 1978, regarding the dynamics of racial change in American neighborhoods. These works produced the now ubiquitous term "tipping point," which, in economics, refers to the point in time when a group changes its behavior to adopt a previously unusual or rare practice. In Schelling's works, he described the tipping point at which white flight occurred from urban areas as minority populations became more prevalent. Mr. Schelling's works have been influential in these and many other fields of economic research.

  1. Robert E. Lucas Jr.

    Robert E. Lucas Jr. is an American economist who won the 1995 ...
  2. Vernon L. Smith

    An American economist who won the Nobel Prize in Economics in ...
  3. Conflict Theory

    The conflict theory states that society is in a constant state ...
  4. Conflict of Interest

    A conflict of interest occurs when a corporation or person becomes ...
  5. James Tobin

    James Tobin was an American economist who won the Nobel Memorial ...
  6. Paul Krugman

    Paul Krugman is an economist from the United States who received ...
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    Nobel Winners Are Economic Prizes

    Before you try to profit from their theories, you should learn about the creators themselves.
  2. Personal Finance

    4 Billionaires Who Dropped Out of Harvard

    People who became successful despite dropping out of Harvard University.
  3. Financial Advisor

    Who is Richard Thaler, Economics Nobel Prize Winner?

    Thaler, one of the founding behavioral economists, won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.
  4. Financial Advisor

    Where the Ultra-Wealthy Go to School

    Want to concentrate on the best chance for building an ultra-wealth clientele? Start with their schooling ... and always bet on Harvard.
  5. Insights

    3 Billionaires Who Graduated From Harvard

    Learn more about three of the many billionaires Harvard has produced and how they have remained loyal by donating hundreds of millions to their alma mater.
  6. Small Business

    5 Entrepreneurs Who Became Rich While Still In School

    Many of America's most successful entrepreneurs found fame well before graduating.
  7. Financial Advisor

    Want A Career In Asset Management? Read This First.

    When it comes to landing that job at an asset manager, not all university degrees are created equal. Here's a look at the best schools for the job.
  8. Investing

    Harvard Endowment Managers Leave to Launch New Funds

    Three managers from Harvard Management Co. are combining efforts to launch two new funds.
  1. What's the difference between agency theory and stakeholder theory?

    Learn how agency theory and stakeholder theory are used in business to understand common business communication problems ... Read Answer >>
  2. Warren Buffett's history in school

    Warren Buffett attended multiple prestigious schools on his path to success, but he places much more significance on real-world ... Read Answer >>
  3. 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 >>
  4. What are some of the limitations and drawbacks of economics as a field?

    Find out why the field of economics is full of controversy. Policy decisions, political campaigns and personal finances are ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Socially Responsible Investment - SRI

    Socially responsible investing looks for investments that are considered socially conscious because of the nature of the ...
  2. Business Cycle

    The business cycle describes the rise and fall in production output of goods and services in an economy. Business cycles ...
  3. Futures Contract

    An agreement to buy or sell the underlying commodity or asset at a specific price at a future date.
  4. Yield Curve

    A yield curve is a line that plots the interest rates, at a set point in time, of bonds having equal credit quality, but ...
  5. Portfolio

    A portfolio is a grouping of financial assets such as stocks, bonds and cash equivalents, also their mutual, exchange-traded ...
  6. Gross Profit

    Gross profit is the profit a company makes after deducting the costs of making and selling its products, or the costs of ...
Trading Center