A Nobel for Beating Systems

In managing systems–such as international organizations, skilled diplomats mater the heuristics and beat the system in order to get resolutions and treaties passed.  Voting rules of procedures can be manipulated.  So it is interesting to see that the Nobel was awarded to two American economists who spent their lives studying ways to defeat gaming for selfish purposes–in search of fairness as well as efficiency:

“The idea is to level the playing field,” Mr. Pathak said. “You want to make sure that not only do sophisticated players not have to spend the time learning the strategies and different heuristics that will get them ahead, but also that unsophisticated players are not hurt by the fact that they are not aware of all this information.”

via Alvin Roth and Lloyd Shapley Win Nobel in Economic Science – NYTimes.com.

The field is called “market design and matching” and Mr. Shapley studied alongside John Nash at Princeton who is also credited as one of the fathers of game theory.  Their work benefitted educational admissions/class selection, matched medical school graduates to residency programs, and most importantly designed a system to better fit kidney donors with recipients.

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One thought on “A Nobel for Beating Systems

  1. jackie3clark says:

    WOW! I think it is amazing what some people do for a living, and incredibly amazing that they can have such an effect on how we view the world. Thank you to all researchers (especially econ and poli sci researchers- I like reading your work the most)!

    I was looking for a second article to comment on today, as class starts in less than an hour… But, this post caught my attention. “No comments” What? This post is leveling the playing field for us! This is research makes it possible for us to pretend like we know what we are doing every mock session.

    Then I thought, as I am reading this over many of the comments made on this blog, I see the recurring theme of ignorance. We seem, as young LDS Americans, to know and assume so much of what is right or wrong for other people. I think we need to remember that we are entering a field that has already been researched thoroughly, and that many critical thinkers and wise minds have come before us. Just a reminder.

    One of my favorite students who explores ideas and lets his mind think things through. http://disreport.net/

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