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The Strategy of Conflict

The Strategy of Conflict

With a New Preface by the Author

Thomas C. Schelling

ISBN 9780674840317

Publication date: 05/15/1981

A series of closely interrelated essays on game theory, this book deals with an area in which progress has been least satisfactory—the situations where there is a common interest as well as conflict between adversaries: negotiations, war and threats of war, criminal deterrence, extortion, tacit bargaining. It proposes enlightening similarities between, for instance, maneuvering in limited war and in a traffic jam; deterring the Russians and one’s own children; the modern strategy of terror and the ancient institution of hostages.

Praise

  • Against the backdrop of the nuclear arms race in the late 1950s, Thomas Schelling’s book The Strategy of Conflict set forth his vision of game theory as a unifying framework for the social sciences. Schelling showed that a party can strengthen its position by overtly worsening its own options, that the capability to retaliate can be more useful than the ability to resist an attack, and that uncertain retaliation is more credible and more efficient than certain retaliation. These insights have proven to be of great relevance for conflict resolution and efforts to avoid war. Schelling’s work prompted new developments in game theory and accelerated its use and application throughout the social sciences. Notably, his analysis of strategic commitments has explained a wide range of phenomena, from the competitive strategies of firms to the delegation of political decision power.

    —The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Author

  • Thomas C. Schelling was Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Economics and School of Public Affairs at the University of Maryland and Lucius N. Littauer Professor of Political Economy, Emeritus, at Harvard University. He was co-recipient of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Economics.

Book Details

  • 328 pages
  • 0-5/8 x 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press

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