Monday, August 13, 2018

The King and Lloyd (in special issue of Games and Economic Behavior in Honor of Lloyd Shapley)

Games and Economic Behavior has published a
Volume 108, Pages 1-614 (March 2018)

The first paper in the special issue is this Introduction

Introduction to the special issue in honor of Lloyd Shapley: Eight topics in game theory

Pages 1-12
Download PDF
David's introduction concludes with "Some remembrances of Lloyd," by various authors.  Here is mine: 

The King and Lloyd
By Alvin E. Roth

My first long conversation with Lloyd was when I visited him in 1974, having just finished my Ph.D. dissertation. I made what felt like a pilgrimage to see him at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, to tell him about my work.  

My last long conversations with Lloyd were in December, 2012, when we both attended the Nobel Prize celebrations in Stockholm. A careful observer might have noted that we had both aged a little since our first meeting. Lloyd walked with a cane, and that led to a small bit of logistics.

When you receive the Nobel from the King of Sweden, the King presents you with two packages, containing the diploma and the medal, which you hold with your left hand so that the two of you can shake hands. Lloyd was concerned about how he would manage this with his cane, and so we agreed that I would walk with him and hold his cane while he received the packages and shook hands, and return it to him immediately afterwards. Hence the picture below.

A subsequent encounter with the King had a touch of game theory. The night after the awards ceremony (and a very big dinner party in the City Hall) there is another dinner party in the royal palace, followed by a reception. At some point Lloyd was fatigued and ready to return to the hotel. But royal protocol dictates that no one should leave before the King, and that when the King leaves the party is over, and everyone leaves. So if the King had been told that one of his guests of honor was ready to go home, he would have felt obliged to depart and end the party to make this possible. To avoid ending the party prematurely, Lloyd therefore exited through the kitchen with the help of palace staff, without passing by the King and without alerting him and disrupting the party.  I thought it very appropriate that he exited with this small game-theoretic flourish.

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