Big Ideas
Home Big Thinkers Big Ideas Great Failures About the Series

Select a Big Thinker

Eric S. Maskin (ed), RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN GAME THEORY. Edward Elgar Publishing

Eric Maskin. IMPLEMENTATION SOCIAL SOURCE. Cambridge University Press.

Eric Maskin. EVOLUTION AND ECOMONIC BEHAVIOUR. Cambridge University Press

Eric Maskin
Field of Expertise

Read an interview with Eric Maskin about Game Theory Eric Maskin has been the Alfred O. Hirschman Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study since July of 2000. Much of Dr. Maskin's early work, begun in the mid-1970s, was in the area of "implementation" theory, which addresses the question of when one can devise procedural rules ensuring that society will make the best choice from among a set of alternatives. A vast literature on implementation, influenced by Maskin's groundbreaking work, has since evolved.

In the early 1980s Maskin began a long collaboration with J. Riley on the subject of "optimal" auctions, exploring the question of what sort of auctions, or selling procedures, raise the most revenue. Partly as a result of this work, Maskin was asked in the early 1990s to give advice to the Bank of Italy on possible reforms in their system of auctioning treasury bonds.

Maskin's long-standing working relationship with P. Dasgupta, which initially focused on implementation theory, later turned to exploration of the existence of equilibrium in discontinuous games. Their two papers on the subject have found wide application in the study of competition among firms. In work carried out jointly (in various combinations) with J. Farrell, D. Fudenberg, D. Kreps, and D. Levine in the mid-1980s, Maskin characterized the range of possible behavior that might be expected to emerge from repeated games. This work has been drawn on extensively by researchers in industrial organization, finance, development and other fields in economics and political science. Recently, in ongoing work with P. Dasgupta, Maskin has been exploring which methods of voting best promote democratic values.

Educational Background

Eric Maskin was born in New York City in 1950. He received his A.B. degree in Mathematics from Harvard University in 1972, and his A.M. and Ph.D. degrees in Applied Mathematics from Harvard University in 1974 and 1976, respectively. He also holds an M.A. degree (honorary) from Cambridge University (1977).

From 1976-77 he was a Research Fellow at Jesus College, Cambridge University. From 1977 through 1984 he taught at Massachusetts Institute of Technology: as an Assistant Professor of Economics from 1977-80, an Associate Professor from 1980-81, and a Professor from 1981-84. In 1985 he moved to Harvard University as Professor of Economics, and became the Louis Berkman Professor of Economics in 1997.


A frequent speaker at international symposia, Dr. Maskin gave the 1998 Arrow Lectures at Stanford University, the 1999 Alfred Marshall Lecture in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, the 1999 Vilfredo Pareto Lecture in Tel Aviv, and the 2000 Seattle Lecture at the World Congress of the Econometric Society in Seattle.

Professor Maskin is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Econometric Society. The author of numerous journal articles and book chapters, he is the editor of three books. He is currently the editor of the journal ECONOMICS LETTERS.


Institute for Advanced Study - School of Social Sciences - Eric Maskin's homepage

Institute for Advanced Study - School of Social Sciences - Appointment of Eric Maskin

Print this page
© 2003 Educational Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

Thirteen/WNET Big Ideas