Thursday, September 1, 2016

Nobel laureate Reinhard Selten died – FAZ – Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

He described himself as “addicted science” science was for him like a drug, but also tortured him. As so far only German researcher Reinhard Selten was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics. Whether researching him have fun? “It’s less fun, you will be driven and tormented by the problems,” Rarely once told this newspaper. Now a fulfilling of the research life has ended. As this newspaper learned from the environment of the family, rarely has been dead on August 23 at the age of 85 years in Poznan.

Philip Plickert Author: Philip Plickert, editor in business, in charge of” the economist “.

Rarely, who was born in 1930 in Silesian Breslau and suffered as a half-Jew in the third Reich from discrimination, had studied in the fifties in Frankfurt Mathematics and early for Psychology and Economics interested. The then fledgling game theory revealed to him a whole new world, the systematic reflection on strategic interaction. John Nash had his “Nash equilibrium” set an important first element in understanding the game-theoretic problems. During the Cold War, about the military for the theory interested. It showed that the nuclear powers could obtain a stable “balance of terror”. Typical economic problems are: How will providers behave in oligopolistic markets? Begin a price war or they form a cartel?

Rarely was. By John von Neumann, Oskar Morgenstern and Nash one of the first who attempted to answer such questions with mathematical models In 1965, he developed the concept of “subgame perfect equilibrium”. Games are thereby rolled up from behind and thus determines the way to the highest profit. 1978 declared rare with the “chain-store paradox”, as it creates a whole chain of stores, to keep competition at bay. In 1994, the Rare economics Nobel Prize, together with the Americans John Nash and John Harsanyi for his research achievements.

It is crucial in game theory problems but always the question of how rational actors analyze the situation. Contrary to mainstream represented rare early the opinion that the model image of the highly rational “homo economicus” is an unrealistic idea. The homo economicus weigh with a cool head at all possible options from, can count on probabilities and selects the option that brings him the greatest benefit. Inspired by the theories of “bounded rationality” of Herbert Simon believed rare that the rationality assumption to people about demand. When asked about the utility function, it could be annoying right: “What a nonsense, but you have no utility function in the head, and then figure out how to optimize your benefit.” The decision-making mechanisms are quite different

To find out. how people actually behave in economic decision situations, made rare experiments, first with his Frankfurt teachers Heinz Sauermann, then in Bonn, where seldom taught since the eighties. More than 30,000 volunteers have now taken the BonnEconLab of economics experiments, which were inspired by Rare. “The independence and depth of his thought was unique,” said Axel Ockenfels, one of Selten students this newspaper. “The economics owes Mr. Rarely grandiose answers and important issues in game theory and behavioral science, which will occupy for decades the research.”

Sometimes ventured rare linguistic Extratour in Esperanto. The title of his introduction to game theory-linguistic questions is: “Enkonduko en la Teorion de Lingvaj Ludoj – Cu mi lernu Esperanton?” For Esperanto Party he ran unsuccessfully at a European election. He had more success with it, to spread the experimental economics in Germany. Meanwhile, there are some two dozen laboratories in which economists make attempts.


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