Strategy and Choice

Strategy and Choice

Edited by Richard Zeckhauser

These essays by well-known scholars present the most significant recent advances in strategic choice theory.





These essays by well-known scholars present the most significant recent advances in strategic choice theory.

From the coalition's desert showdown with Saddam Hussein to the dieter's duel with himself in the midnight kitchen, strategic choices determine destinies. These essays by wellknown scholars - economists, psychologists, philosophers, and political scientists, inspired by master strategist Thomas Schelling - present the most significant recent advances in strategic choice theory. In activities ranging from gift giving to political wheeling and dealing, men and women strive ingeniously - though sometimes counterproductively - to secure desired outcomes. But as this book makes clear' the fundamental questions for strategy continually reappear: What factors motivate individuals' values and actions? What principles guide effective bargaining? How can incentives and decision processes be structured to yield desirable collective outcomes? In three parts, the book addresses many-player, fewplayer, and one-player situations. The first takes up questions such as: What outcomes result when an individual's welfare depends on comparisons with the situation of others? Under what circumstances do we expect many-player outcomes to at least resemble participants' desired outcomes? The second asks how we can build trust, distinguish between gifts and bribes, make commitments credible, or employ third parties to improve our bargaining position. The final part of the book focuses on the struggle of the individual decision maker. How does the recollected past influence one's evaluation of the present? How can we cope with errors in decision making? When should we rely on rules and principles, as opposed to the careful weighing of alternatives prescribed by the theory of rational choice? And - the most ethically challenging question - how shall we value human life?

ContributorsVincent P. Crawford, Avinash Dixit, Jon Elster, Robert H. Frank, Jerry R. Green, Dale Griffin, Russell Hardin, Richard J. Herrnstein, Robert Jervis, Robert Klitgaard, Howard Margolis, Barry Nalebuff, Mancur Olson, Drazen Prelec, Howard Raiffa, Amos Tversky, W. Kip Viscusi, Richard Zeckhauser


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262240338 414 pp. | 6.2 in x 9.6 in


$35.00 X ISBN: 9780262529532 414 pp. | 6.2 in x 9.6 in


Richard Zeckhauser

Richard Zeckhauser is Frank P. Ramsey Professor of Political Economy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.


  • This is one of the very best volumes of collected essays that I have ever encountered. Nearly all of the contributors are world-class scholars in their respective disciplines, and their essays here are generally excellent, unlike the throwaway pieces one usually finds in such collections. Richard Zeckhauser is to be applauded for his editorial courage in compiling this first-rate tribute to Thomas Schelling.

    Tyler Cowen

    George Mason University

  • The scholars represented in this impressive collection have contributed engaging essays from a wide variety of persepctives and disciplines. Most of the pieces were written specifically for this volume, with a clear attempt to make them accessible for a diverse audience.

    Baruch Fischhoff

    Professor of Social and Decision Sciences, Professor of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University

  • Thomas Schelling's ideas continue to inspire elegant insights. This volume is no exception. The several polished gems it contains will be widely read for some time to come. Many of these essays are simply beautiful.

    Amihai Glazer

    Professor of Economics, University of California

  • It's really quite extraordinary how well the various authors have presented their material. I had not intended to read the entire volume, but these entries were so enticing and well-excuted that I ended up reading almost everything. Nearly everyone with an academic or policy interest in the behavioral sciences—economics, psychology, political science, law, etc.—will find a great deal here of substantive interest to his own speciality as well as informative inklins of how other specialties deal with the subject of strategic choice.

    Jack Hirshleifer

    Professor of Economics, Univeristy of California

  • Strategic behavior is too interesting and important to be left to game theorists. The authors of this book—some of whom are and some of whom aren't—bring the concepts to life with the work of pointed examples that Tom Schelling made famous. they really keep your attention.

    Robert Solow

    Institute Professor, MIT