John Charles Harsanyi

John Charles Harsanyi

Hungarian-American economist who shared the 1994 Nobel Prize in Economics with John F. Nash and Reinhard Selten for helping to develop game theory, a branch of mathematics that attempts to analyze situations involving conflicting interests and to formulate appropriate choices and behaviours for the competitors involved.
After receiving a doctorate from the University of Budapest (1947), Harsanyi immigrated to Australia in 1950. He attended Sydney University (M.A., 1953) and then immigrated to the United States, where he attended Stanford University (Ph.D., 1959). From 1964 he was a professor at the Haas School of Business of the University of California, Berkeley.

Harsanyi built on the work of Nash, who had established the mathematical principles of game theory. He enhanced Nash's equilibrium model by introducing the predictability of rivals' action based on the chance that they would choose one move or countermove over another. Harsanyi was also an ethics scholar who conducted formal investigations on appropriate behaviour and correct social choices among competitors.


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