Monday, June 11, 2012

Ariel Rubinstein on why game theory is no good

Ariel Rubinstein is the famous game theorist who thinks that game theory isn't useful. It's a position he's put forward in many venues (e.g. here), most recently in this interview (and see his new book--new in English that is).

I once gave a talk at the Hebrew University that was followed immediately with a talk by Ariel, to the same audience. My talk was called something like "The Economist as Engineer," and focused on the kinds of market design applications of game theory covered in this blog: labor market clearinghouses for doctors and others, school choice mechanisms in various American cities, kidney exchange...

Ariel's talk was called something like "Why game theory isn't useful." 

So, I gave my talk, we broke for a fifteen minute coffee break, then we all came back and Ariel stood up and I sat where he had been sitting and everyone else returned to their seats. Naturally the first question he got, just about when he had finished saying the title of his talk, was "how about all that stuff that Al just talked about?  Isn't it useful?"

He answered (I paraphrase from memory): "Oh, Al's stuff is useful alright. But it's not game theory."

1 comment:

juliangreenfield said...

Can we have a more descriptive post on why game theory isn’t useful?

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