The Economists´ Quartet

A Game, not a Theory

by Sandra Gruescu and Niels Peter Thomas

A Short History of Economists´ Duets

Here we would like to collect as much Duets of Economists as we can, to see if all economists through all ages can somehow be linked together. If you can tell us an interesting story about two economists, which meets the rules of forming a Duet (according to the rules of the game), please tell us. We appreciate your input.

New Proposals for Duets

  • Kenneth Arrow and Paul Samuelson: Arrow´s sister and Samuelson´s brother, the economists Anita and Bob Summers, are married and have a son, Lawrence Summers. He is former prefessor of economics at MIT, former US Secretary of the Treasury and currently president of Harvard University (this duet was kindly provided by Jochen Jagob, Darmstadt).

List of Duets Proposed in the Paper

  • Arrow and Condorcet: In the first edition of his "Social Choice and Individual Values", Arrow regards the "paradox of voting" (an essential part of his considerations) being first mentioned by E. J. Nanson in 1882. In the second edition he rightfully admits that the paradox was already known by Condorcet in 1785 (see Arrow 1964, p.3 and p.93).
  • Gruescu and Thomas are the inventors of The Economists' Quartet and therefore form a valid duet (this is only true in the game: In real life, Sandra forms a duet with Radu and Niels with Barbara).
  • Hansen and Hicks can be considered as the fathers of the IS-LM model. Hicks first introduced the basic idea in his 1937 Econometrica article "Mr Keynes and the Classics: A suggested interpretation", which was later popularized by Hansen.
  • Harsanyi, Nash and Selten: any two of them form a valid pair because in the year 1994 they won the Nobel prize "for their pioneering analysis of equilibria in the theory of non-cooperative games" (see Nobel Laureates 1994).
  • Keynes and Robinson: Joan Robinson propagated Keynes´ theory and was a very important contributor to the Post Keynesian school.
  • Luxemburg and Robinson: In some points they would agree to each other, in others they would not. But at least both of them wrote a book called "The Accumulation of Capital" (see Luxemburg 1913 and Robinson 1956).
  • Marcet and Ricardo were close acquaintances. Marcet´s "Conversations on Political Economy" were published one year before Ricardo´s "The Principles of Political Economy and Taxation", but already contained lots of new thoughts, which later Ricardo became famous for (see Marcet 1824). We do not accuse Ricardo for plagiarizing her book, but the new thought may have been developed together in their numerous conversations.
  • Morgenstern and von Neumann in 1944 wrote the book "Theory of Games and Economic Behaviour" where the foundations for using game theory in economics were introduced (see Von Neumann/Morgenstern 1953). Together they can be called the inventors of Game Theory.
  • North and Veblen: Among the New Institutionalists, maybe North kept closest to the spirit of Veblen, one of the founders of the "Old Institutionalism".
  • Ricardo and Smith: David Ricardo is often called a disciple of Adam Smith. We doubt this in detail, but at least both of them made important contributions to what is known nowadays as classical economic theory.
  • Ricardo and Sraffa: Pierro Sraffa (together with M. H. Dobb) is co-editor of the works of David Ricardo (see Sraffa/Dobb 1951).
  • Robinson and Sen: Sen was a student of Robinson in Cambridge.

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