We had Nash and Schelling — who did the Soviets have?

The bi-polar confrontation between the Soviet Union and the USA involved many leading game theorists from both sides of the Iron Curtain: Oskar Morgenstern, John von Neumann, Michael Intriligator, John Nash, Thomas Schelling and Steven Brams from the United States and Nikolay Vorob’ev, Leon A. Petrosyan, Elena B. Yanovskaya and Olga N. Bondareva from the Soviet Union. The formalization of game theory (GT) took place prior to the Cold War but the geopolitical confrontation hastened and shaped its evolution. In our article we outline four similarities and differences between Western GT and Soviet GT: 1) the Iron Curtain resulted in a lagged evolution of GT in the Soviet Union; 2) Soviet GT focused more on operations research and issues of centralized planning; 3) the contemporary Western view on Soviet GT was biased and Soviet contributions, including works on dynamic stability, non-emptiness of the core and many refinements, suggest that Soviet GT was able to catch up to the Western level relatively fast; 4) international conferences, including Vilnius, 1971, fostered interaction between Soviet game theorists and their Western colleagues. In general, we consider the Cold War to be a positive environment for GT in the West and in the Soviet Union.

That is from a new paper by Harald Hagemann, Vadim Kufenko, and Danila Raskov, via Ilya Novak and Beatrice Cherrier.  And via Kevin Vallier, here is a new paper on how Schelling’s game-theoretic notion of stability may have come from his very early work on macroeconomics.


Big line-up of names there ... not too many particulars.

The Reds Had Boris And Natasha.

The Reds had Ivan Drago.

Good One.

More to the point, at this time, who do the Chinese have? Come to think of it, who does the US have?

China has sociopathic Mongoloids who steal and plagiarize from the ingenuity of the White race. The US under Trump will put these cheating dog-eaters in their place and deport the traitors from our soil to keep our country safe for real Americans. #maga2020


Until November 2016, the Chinese had on their side the Bushes, the Clintons, Tim Cook, the Democrat party, Bill Gates, Nike, Obama, et al.

Make The Bed-Wetting, Thumb-sucking Idiots Cry Again In 2020.

Elizabeth Warren changed her party back to Republican?

The Rand Corporation recruited John Nash in 1950 to work on nuclear war game theory. I presume the subject matter didn't help his mental stability.

In general, the Cold War was a really big deal, with huge budgets. It employed, in one fashion or another, an awful lot of the smartest people in the U.S. and the Soviet Union.

The smartest people in the US went from building weapons of mass destruction during the Cold War to building weapons of financial destruction during the Wall Street crisis to building weapons of mass surveillance during this latest tech bubble. Imagine if we could get them to do something useful for a change instead of rewarding them for leaving a big sopping mess behind. I could live with a 5 point drop in the national IQ if we got better morals in exchange.

Damn. +1.

After I read the first paragraph, I got ready to make a comment. But you covered it in the second paragraph. it's similar to how WW II, especially the strategic bombing effort and the forerunners of operations research, employed a lot of statisticians and economists.

As for the Cold War, I had a philosophy professor who'd worked for the RAND corporation in the 1950s or early 1960s. I don't know exactly what he did, he was a logician so I imagine it was some quantitative stuff, as opposed to philosophizing about the Cold War.

Conversely when the Cold War ended the job market for PhD-level physicists and mathematicians became a lot worse. As Lew says, a number of them became quant specialists in finance.

Game theory is yet another fruitless endeavor for the sad field of economics. Limited explanatory power in limited settings. Meanwhile in computer science, they invent AIs that solved chess and go. You know actual games with actual humans not made up prisoner dilemmas who behave mathematically.

I hope the AIs enjoy the games as much as humans do, but what is it good for? Maybe there are useful goals we should be trying to accomplish instead.

I dunno. I used it to beat a parking ticket recently.

The Soviets had Vladimir Putin, the ultimate game theorist.

Donald Trump's trade war with China is game theory and its working. Trump is smarter than economists.


The reason I as a redpiller cannot respect Trump is because he is a celebrity and a billionaire but he ended up paying for sex. I normally don't have a problem with most people who do that because most are not rich or famous. That makes him worse than an omega incel. Clinton for all of his flaws is the most alpha of Presidents.


Never shelled out even one continental, ain't that right, George? GOP was a tight ship when I helmed it.

Yes, and?

It's not actually successful GT until you win.

And paying off your own farmers from the general fund ain't that.

It’s time to IP ban mouse/anonymous.

Half these threads are him talking to himself under like 5 different names. He makes up at least 60 - 70% of the comments in any post, under handles like anonymous, Democrat, Republican, mouse, Trump MAGA, now RP Man and on and on.

Block the IP and his email already. His only purpose is to prevent any real Econ conversation. 99% is just trolling and spamming links, bait, twitter, and shoving Trump into...a conversation about game theory in the Cold War??

I mean FFS. It’s past time.

The hosts know it's not, because I use the same email.

Every. Single. Time.

And for years.

You've admitted using at least three different handles. So even according to your own words that's not true.

You're here to derail every single economics MR post into a trainwreck about Trump, conspiracy theories, and the idiocy that is politics in 2019 America.

Game theoreticians in the Cold War? You spam the thread with Tweets and links about Trump and the Border Patrol.

It's time for an IP ban.

Changing names over time is an MR tradition. And strictly speaking, sock puppets are names used to have arguments with yourself on the same page.

Like Ben Franklin used to do in his newspaper.

To be perfectly clear, I am not Trump2020, I don't sock puppet.

Me neither. We don't do such things in Brazil.

No bans. We believe in free speech. Especially the kind that offends you.

I guess the sad thing is that trade war is a legit topic for game theory analysis.

As is immigration strategy.

As are (possible) Ukrainian threats.

I guess the complaint above is that this site should only discuss GT in the context of the distant past. Current events not allowed.

When you start crying to ban someone, that person has beaten you. Grow up.

Exactly. But when you simply execute the malefactor instead, you have beaten them!


Isn't game theory another term for strategy? In the US-Soviet game theory, our strategy was a combination of containment and balance of power, the former a nod to the military (and threats) and the latter the actual strategy (game). We don't use balance of power anymore; indeed, it's considered too effeminate for real mean, threats and bluster the strategy of real men. The late Kenneth Waltz was an architect of our post-WWII strategy of balance of power. Shortly before his death he wrote a paper suggesting that if Iran had a nuclear bomb, it would actually reduce the likelihood of war in the middle east. GT that!

A little moment of game theory, 2019 style


Exactly. If even one migrant is temporarily detained, the system is failing.

Abolish the Border Patrol. As Elizabeth Warren says, Imaginary lines only need imaginary police. Decriminalize and legalize all border crossings.

Abolish ICE. Keep undocumented citizen families together.

Pueblos Sin Fronteras. People without borders. ¡ En marcha !

Is there anyone, or any number, you would not allow in?

How is President SandersWarrenOcasioIlhanYangSpartacus going to give free college and health care to an additional 300 million indigent people after their green new deal has crashed the economy?

The same anonymous? (Entry level)

Is there a link missing in the post? Where is the paper on Schelling?

I am more of an advocate of behavioral game theory and experimental game theory, finding out how PEOPLE actually behave, rather than how machines or software programs say they should behave.

Assume for a moment that behavioral game theory is more predictive than traditional game theory.

Also, assume the final decisions on any move are made by Trump or Putin respectively.

you can pretend 2b art deco, but you can't write like him. come on in here with any moniker you like.

Thanks for posting this, Tyler. The Hagemann et al paper is informative and useful. If one looks closely it becomes clear that while the Soviet game theorists were reasonably well informed about what was going on with GT in the West, this was not the case vice versa. The only actual westerner to attend that 1971 Vilnius conference was Morgenstern, who by then was pretty much out of it as far as western game theory went. Apparently some of these folks did get into the International Journal of Game Theory in the 80s, but in general the ignorance among western game theorists of what was going on in the USSR was astounding.

This was something that my wife, Marina, long complained about after her arrival in the US, as she would hear leading US game theorists making incredibly ignorant remarks about the state of Soviet game theory, with it clear they knew a big fat zero. It has taken a long time for people like Bondareva to get proper recognition.

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