Harsanyi, John Charles

Harsanyi, John Charles, 1920–2000, Hungarian-American economist, b. Budapest, grad. Univ. of Budapest (Ph.D., 1947), Stanford (Ph.D., 1959). Harsanyi briefly taught (1947–48) sociology in Budapest before fleeing the Communist regime in 1950 for Australia. He was a lecturer at the Univ. of Queensland (1954–56) and a researcher at the Australian National Univ. (1958–61), but subsequently settled in the United States and taught at Wayne State Univ., Detroit (1961–63) and the Univ. of California, Berkeley (1964–90). A specialist in game theory (see games, theory of), Harsanyi extended the work of John F. Nash so that the theory could be applied to situations in which the participants had different information, enabling game theory to better reflect the real world. He shared the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with Nash and Reinhard Selten in 1994 for their work on game theory, which enabled it to become an important tool in the analysis of economic issues.

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