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The Nobel Memorial Laureates in Economics

The Nobel Memorial Laureates in Economics

An Introduction to Their Careers and Main Published Works

Howard R. Vane and Chris Mulhearn

Erudite, accessible and lucidly written, this book provides a stimulating introduction to the careers and main published works of the Nobel Memorial Laureates in Economics. It will prove to be an invaluable reference book on key figures in economics and their path-breaking insights. The vignettes should also encourage the reader to sample some of the Laureates’ original works and gain a better understanding of the context in which new ideas were first put forward.


Howard R. Vane and Chris Mulhearn

Subjects: economics and finance, economic psychology, history of economic thought


THE 1994 NOBEL MEMORIAL LAUREATES JOHN HARSANYI, JOHN NASH JR AND REINHARD SELTEN JOHN HARSANYI John C. Harsanyi (1920–2000) © The Nobel Foundation John Harsanyi was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1920. He attended the same school as John von Neumann and showed great early promise in mathematics, winning first prize in a national contest for high-school students in the year of his graduation. Harsanyi’s higher educational choices were made in the shadow of Nazism. He had wanted to study philosophy and mathematics but instead – in keeping with his parents’ wishes (they owned a pharmacy business) – he became a pharmacy student at the University of Budapest. This allowed him to defer his military service and for a time avoid forced labour in the Hungarian Army that his Jewish origin would otherwise have guaranteed. Following the German occupation of Hungary in 1944, Harsanyi was conscripted into a labour unit but managed to escape as the unit was en route to its destruction in an Austrian concentration camp. He survived the rest of the war in hiding (Nobel Foundation, 2004). In 1946 Harsanyi re-entered the University of Budapest to study for a doctorate in philosophy. He was awarded his PhD in 1947 and spent the 1947–48 academic year teaching sociology at the university. But there was to be no academic career for him in Hungary. Forced to resign his post because his anti-Marxist political views were unacceptable to the authorities, he and his later wife, Anne, 222 JOHN HARSANYI eventually fled...

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