22 May 2008

Professor Emeritus Howard Raiffa Wins 2008 Schelling Award

Thomas Schelling (L) congratulates Schelling Award
winner Howard Raiffa (R). Photo: Martha Stewart

BOSTON — Howard Raiffa, the eminent pioneer in the field of decision analysis, has been named this year's recipient of the Thomas C. Schelling Award, given annually to an individual whose remarkable intellectual work has had a transformative impact on public policy.

Raiffa is Harvard University's Frank P. Ramsey Professor of Managerial Economics Emeritus - a chair administered by both the Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School. He received the award and $25,000 prize on May 15th at a dinner hosted by Harvard Kennedy School Dean David T. Ellwood.

A mathematician by training, Raiffa is an originator of the now famous "decision tree" and has done extensive research on developing techniques to help decision makers think more systematically about complex choices involving uncertainties and tradeoffs. As an advisor to McGeorge Bundy, White House assistant for national security under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, Raiffa helped negotiate the creation of an East-West think tank aimed at reducing Cold War tensions. He joined the Harvard faculty in 1960 and was named to the Ramsey chair in 1964. He retired from the active faculty in December 1994.

Funding for the award has been provided by the David Rubenstein Fund for Kennedy School Excellence. The fund was established in 2004 by a $10 million gift from David M. Rubenstein, co-founder and managing director of the Carlyle Group, one of the world's largest private equity firms. It is named in honor of Thomas C. Schelling, a long-time Harvard University and Kennedy School faculty member who was a co-winner of the 2005 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics for "having enhanced our understanding of conflict and cooperation through game-theory analysis." Schelling retired from Harvard in 1990 and is now a professor at the University of Maryland.

Past recipients of the award include Judge Richard Posner (2005) of the United States Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and a Senior Lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, Princeton University Professor and Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman (2006), and Professor Jagdish Bhagwati (2007), of Columbia University and a Senior Fellow in International Economics at the Council on Foreign Relations.

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