Strategies of Commitment and Other Essays by Thomas C. SchellingStrategies of Commitment and Other Essays by Thomas C. Schelling

Strategies of Commitment and Other Essays

byThomas C. Schelling

Paperback | September 30, 2007

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All of the essays in this new collection by Thomas Schelling convey his unique perspective on individuals and society. This perspective has several characteristics: it is strategic in that it assumes that an important part of people's behavior is motivated by the thought of influencing other people's expectations; it views the mind as being separable into two or more parts (rational/irrational; present-minded/future-minded); it is motivated by policy concerns--smoking and other addictions, global warming, segregation, nuclear war; and while it accepts many of the basic assumptions of economics--that people are forward-looking, rational decision makers, that resources are scarce, and that incentives are important--it is open to modifying them when appropriate, and open to the findings and insights of other social science disciplines.

Schelling--a 2005 Nobel Prize winner-- has been one of the four or five most important social scientists of the past fifty years, and this collection shows why.

Thomas C. Schelling is Distinguished University Professor, Department of Economics and School of Public Affairs, University of Maryland and Lucius N. Littauer Professor of Political Economy, Emeritus, Harvard University. He is co-recipient of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Economics.
Title:Strategies of Commitment and Other EssaysFormat:PaperbackDimensions:360 pagesPublished:September 30, 2007Publisher:HarvardLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0674025679

ISBN - 13:9780674025677

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Table of Contents


1. Strategies of Commitment

Climate and Society

2. What Makes Greenhouse Sense?

3. The Economic Diplomacy of Geoengineering

4. Intergenerational and International Discounting

Commitment as Self-Command

5. Self-Command in Practice, in Policy, and in a Theory of Rational Choice

6. Coping Rationally with Lapses from Rationality

7. Against Backsliding

8. Addictive Drugs: The Cigarette Experience

Society and Life

9. Life, Liberty, or the Pursuit of Happiness

10. Should Numbers Determine Whom to Save?

Economics and Social Policy

11. What Do Economists Know?

12. Why Does Economics Only Help with Easy Problems?

13. Prices as Regulatory Instruments

Weapons and Warfare

14. Meteors, Mischief, and War

15. Research by Accident

16. Vietnam: Reflections and Lessons

Social Dynamics

17. Social Mechanisms and Social Dynamics

18. Dynamic Models of Segregation

Decisions of the Highest Order

19. The Legacy of Hiroshima



Editorial Reviews

Whether by accident or design, this collection of essays is well timed to celebrate Thomas Schelling's winning the 2005 Nobel Prize in Economics. With one minor exception all the essays have been published previously. On the scale of Schelling's long career, most are relatively recent productions. All the characteristic features of his work--the breadth of his interests, the originality and creativity of his theorizing, the intellectual rigor of his policy analysis and the freshness and clarity of his writing--are on display. The title essay is an elegant reprise of the work for which Schelling is best known among his fellow economists: the study of strategy commitment. Several essays explore the possibilities of commitment as a mechanism of self-control. Schelling treats the individual as a collection of selves, interacting strategically with one another. He writes with empathy and imagination about the strategies by which one self tries to forestall choices that another self will want to make, and the countervailing strategies by which the latter tries to evade the constraints imposed by the former.