Photo by Martha Stewart (via Harvard Gazette)

A little note on the occasion of Thomas Schelling’s passing away

Earlier this week, Thomas Schelling died at the age of 95 (thus adding further support to the hypothesis being a Nobel-prize winning economist is a good way to ensure a long, healthy life).

It was his book Micromotives and Macrobehaviour that fuelled my smouldering interest in economics into a roaring fire. Schelling is not often (and certainly not widely) quoted as a behavioural economist, but he was certainly instrumental in pointing me in that direction too.

His eloquent descriptions of how the economic way thinking helps understand and predict human behaviour, not just on the scale of the individual but for whole populations (see this wonderful video on racial segregation by Tim Harford for example) will continue to enlighten anyone interested our species for many years to come.

He was — and remains — the kind of expert whose wisdom we should prefer a thousand times over the glib pronunciations of populist politicians, any day of the year.

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Originally published at koenfucius.wordpress.com on December 15, 2016.