Kenneth Binmore

Last updated

Kenneth George Binmore
Kenneth Binmore.jpg
Born (1940-09-27) 27 September 1940 (age 79)
Era 20th-century philosophy  · 21st-century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Analytic philosophy
Main interests
Game theory  · Political philosophy  ·Ethics · Social contract theory  · Mathematical analysis

Kenneth George "Ken" Binmore, CBE , FBA (born 27 September 1940) is a British mathematician, economist, and game theorist. He is a Professor Emeritus of Economics at University College London (UCL) [1] and a Visiting Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Bristol. [2]

Contents

He is one of the founders of the modern economic theory of bargaining (along with Nash and Rubinstein), and has made important contributions to the foundations of game theory, experimental economics, and evolutionary game theory, as well as to analytical philosophy. Binmore took up economics after a career in mathematics, during which he held the Chair of Mathematics at the London School of Economics. Since his switch to economics he has been at the forefront of developments in game theory. His other research interests include political and moral philosophy, decision theory, and statistics. He is the author of more than 100 scholarly papers and 14 books.

Education

He studied mathematics at Imperial College London where he was awarded 1st class honours BSc with Governor's Prize, and subsequently PhD (in mathematical analysis).

Research

Binmore's major research contributions are to the theory of bargaining and its testing in the laboratory. He is a pioneer of experimental economics. He began his experimental work in the 1980s when most economists thought that game theory would not work in the laboratory. Binmore and his collaborators established that game theory can often predict the behaviour of experienced players very well in laboratory settings, even in the case of human bargaining behaviour, a particularly challenging case for game theory. This has brought him into conflict with some proponents of behavioural economics who emphasise the importance of other-regarding or social preferences, and argue that their findings threaten traditional game theory.

Binmore's work in political and moral philosophy began in the 1980s when he first applied bargaining theory to John Rawls' original position. His search for the philosophical foundations of the original position took him first to Kant's works, and then to Hume. Hume inspired Binmore to contribute to a naturalistic science of morals that seeks foundations for Rawlsian ideas about fairness norms in biological and social evolution. The result was his two-volume Game Theory and the Social Contract, an ambitious attempt to lay the foundations for a genuine science of morals using the theory of games. In Game Theory and the Social Contract Binmore proposes a naturalistic reinterpretation of John Rawls' original position that reconciles his egalitarian theory of justice with John Harsanyi's utilitarian theory. His recent Natural Justice provides a nontechnical synthesis of this work.

Affiliations

In 1995 Binmore became one of the founding directors of the Centre for Economic Learning and Social Evolution (ELSE), an interdisciplinary research centre involving economists, psychologists, anthropologists and mathematicians based at University College London. Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, ELSE pursues fundamental research on evolutionary and learning approaches to games and society, and it applies its theoretical findings to practical problems in government and business.

While the Director of ELSE, Binmore became widely known as the ‘poker-playing economic theorist’ who netted the British government £22 billion when he led the team that designed the third generation (3G) telecommunications auction in 2000. He went on to design and implement 3G spectrum auctions in Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Israel and Hong Kong.

Binmore is Emeritus Professor of Economics at University College London, Visiting Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Bristol and Visiting Professor in the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method at the London School of Economics. He has held corresponding positions at the London School of Economics, Caltech, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan. He is a Fellow of the Econometric Society and the British Academy. He was appointed a CBE in the New Year's Honours List 2001 for contributions to game theory and for his role in designing the UK's 3G telecommunications auctions. He was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2002. [3] In 2007 he was appointed an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Bristol and an Honorary Fellow of the Centre for Philosophy at the London School of Economics.

Books

(1994). Volume 1: Playing Fair. Cambridge: MIT Press.
(1998). Volume 2: Just Playing. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Selected articles

Interviews with Binmore

'The Origin of Fairness' in Alex Voorhoeve Conversations on Ethics. Oxford University Press, 2009. ISBN   978-0-19-921537-9 (On Binmore's approach to moral philosophy.)

Related Research Articles

Rational choice theory, also known as choice theory or rational action theory, is a framework for understanding and often formally modeling social and economic behavior. The basic premise of rational choice theory is that aggregate social behavior results from the behavior of individual actors, each of whom is making their individual decisions. The theory also focuses on the determinants of the individual choices. Rational choice theory then assumes that an individual has preferences among the available choice alternatives that allow them to state which option they prefer. These preferences are assumed to be complete and transitive. The rational agent is assumed to take account of available information, probabilities of events, and potential costs and benefits in determining preferences, and to act consistently in choosing the self-determined best choice of action. In simpler terms, this theory dictates that every person, even when carrying out the most mundane of tasks, perform their own personal cost and benefit analysis in order to determine whether the action is worth perusing for the best possible outcome. And following this, a person will choose the optimum venture in every case. This could culminate in a student deciding on whether to attend a lecture or stay in bed, a shopper deciding to provide their own bag to avoid the five pence charge or even a voter deciding which candidate or party based on who will fulfil their needs the best on issues that have an impact themselves especially.

The term homo economicus, or economic man, is the portrayal of humans as agents who are consistently rational, narrowly self-interested, and who pursue their subjectively-defined ends optimally. It is a word play on Homo sapiens, used in some economic theories and in pedagogy.

Behavioral economics academic discipline

Behavioral economics studies the effects of psychological, cognitive, emotional, cultural and social factors on the economic decisions of individuals and institutions and how those decisions vary from those implied by classical theory.

Paul Samuelson American economist

Paul Anthony Samuelson was an American economist. The first American to win the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, the Swedish Royal Academies stated, when awarding the prize in 1970, that he "has done more than any other contemporary economist to raise the level of scientific analysis in economic theory". Economic historian Randall E. Parker has called him the "Father of Modern Economics", and The New York Times considered him to be the "foremost academic economist of the 20th century".

John Harsanyi hungarian economist

John Charles Harsanyi was a Hungarian-American Nobel Prize laureate economist.

Ultimatum game A game in economic experiments

The ultimatum game is a game that has become a popular instrument of economic experiments. It was first described by Werner Güth, Rolf Schmittberger, and Bernd Schwarze: One player, the proposer, is endowed with a sum of money. The proposer is tasked with splitting it with another player, the responder. Once the proposer communicates their decision, the responder may accept it or reject it. If the responder accepts, the money is split per the proposal; if the responder rejects, both players receive nothing. Both players know in advance the consequences of the responder accepting or rejecting the offer.

Ariel Rubinstein Israeli economist

Ariel Rubinstein is an Israeli economist who works in Economic Theory, Game Theory and Bounded Rationality.

Philosophy and economics, also philosophy of economics, studies topics such as rational choice, the appraisal of economic outcomes, institutions and processes, and the ontology of economic phenomena and the possibilities of acquiring knowledge of them.

Jon Elster is a Norwegian social and political theorist who has authored works in the philosophy of social science and rational choice theory. He is also a notable proponent of analytical Marxism, and a critic of neoclassical economics and public choice theory, largely on behavioral and psychological grounds.

John Broome is a British philosopher and economist. He was the White's Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford.

Economic methodology is the study of methods, especially the scientific method, in relation to economics, including principles underlying economic reasoning. In contemporary English, 'methodology' may reference theoretical or systematic aspects of a method. Philosophy and economics also takes up methodology at the intersection of the two subjects.

Justice in economics is a subcategory of welfare economics with models frequently representing the ethical-social requirements of a given theory, whether "in the large", as of a just social order, or "in the small", as in the equity of "how institutions distribute specific benefits and burdens". That theory may or may not elicit acceptance. In the Journal of Economic Literature classification codes 'justice' is scrolled to at JEL: D63, wedged on the same line between 'Equity' and 'Inequality' along with 'Other Normative Criteria and Measurement'. Categories above and below the line are Externalities and Altruism.

Roger Myerson American economist

Roger Bruce Myerson is an American economist and professor at the University of Chicago. He holds the title of the David L. Pearson Distinguished Service Professor of Global Conflict Studies at The Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts in the Harris School of Public Policy, the Griffin Department of Economics, and the College. Previously, he held the title The Glen A. Lloyd Distinguished Service Professor of Economics. In 2007, he was the winner of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel with Leonid Hurwicz and Eric Maskin for "having laid the foundations of mechanism design theory." He was elected a Member of the American Philosophical Society in 2019.

Mathematical economics is the application of mathematical methods to represent theories and analyze problems in economics. By convention, these applied methods are beyond simple geometry, such as differential and integral calculus, difference and differential equations, matrix algebra, mathematical programming, and other computational methods. Proponents of this approach claim that it allows the formulation of theoretical relationships with rigor, generality, and simplicity.

Herbert Gintis is an American economist, behavioral scientist, and educator known for his theoretical contributions to sociobiology, especially altruism, cooperation, epistemic game theory, gene-culture coevolution, efficiency wages, strong reciprocity, and human capital theory. Throughout his career, he has worked extensively with economist Samuel Bowles. Their landmark book, Schooling in Capitalist America, has had multiple editions in five languages since it was first published in 1976. Their most recent book, A Cooperative Species: Human Reciprocity and its Evolution was published by Princeton University Press in 2011.

Ehud Kalai Game Theorist

Ehud Kalai is a prominent Israeli American game theorist and mathematical economist known for his contributions to the field of game theory and its interface with economics, social choice, computer science and operations research. He was the James J. O’Connor Distinguished Professor of Decision and Game Sciences at Northwestern University, 1975-2017, and currently is a Professor Emeritus of Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences.

Kumaraswamy (Vela) Velupillai is an academic economist and a Senior Visiting Professor at the Madras School of Economics and was, formerly, (Distinguished) Professor of Economics at the New School for Social Research in New York City and Professore di Chiara Fama in the Department of Economics at the University of Trento, Italy.

Drew Fudenberg is the Paul A. Samuelson Professor of Economics at MIT. His extensive research spans many aspects of game theory, including equilibrium theory, learning in games, evolutionary game theory, and many applications to other fields. Fudenberg was also one of the first to apply game theoretic analysis in industrial organization, bargaining theory, and contract theory. He has also authored papers on repeated games, reputation effects, and behavioral economics.

Abhinay Muthoo is the Dean of Warwick in London, a role which will enhance the University of Warwick's presence in the capital. He is also the Co-Director of the Warwick Policy Lab and a Professor of Economics in the Department of Economics, University of Warwick. He became the Dean of Warwick in London on 1 August 2016, after eight years as the Head of the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick.

Werner Güth is a German economist who, together with Rolf Schmittberger and Bernd Schwarze, first described the ultimatum game. He is currently Emeritus Director at the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.

References

  1. "CV" (PDF). ELSE. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 February 2012. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  2. http://www.bristol.ac.uk/economics/staff/binmore.html
  3. "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter B" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 20 July 2011.