Eric Maskin to Discuss Elections and Strategic Voting at Institute for Advanced Study

May 6: Eric Maskin on Elections and Strategic Voting

Eric Maskin, Albert O. Hirschman Professor in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study, will give a lecture on “Elections and Strategic Voting” on Friday, May 6, at 5:30 p.m. in Wolfensohn Hall on the Institute campus.

Maskin, the winner of the 2007 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his work on the theory of mechanism design, will discuss how U.S. presidential elections often drive many citizens to vote strategically—to vote for a candidate they do not like in hope of preventing someone they dislike even more from winning.

He will elaborate on an electoral system that induces widespread strategic voting, which, although hardly unique to America, is undesirable for many reasons. Maskin will explain how the system deprives citizens of the chance to express their views without fear that doing so will lead to the election of someone they strongly oppose, and will discuss how to design electoral systems that do not put voters in this bind.

A leading economist, Maskin’s work has been drawn on extensively by researchers in the areas of industrial organization, finance, development and other fields in economics and political science. While best known for his work on mechanism design, Maskin has also has made contributions to many other areas of economics, including political economy, the theory of income inequality and the study of intellectual property rights. Much of his current research focuses on the theory of coalition formation, comparing different voting systems, the theory of repeated games and the pros and cons of intellectual property rights.

In addition to the Nobel Prize, Maskin has received many honors, including the Eric Kempe Award in 2007 and the Harvard University Centennial Medal in 2010. He has served as Editor of Economics Letters since 1992 and as President of the Game Theory Society since 2010.

Maskin was educated at Harvard University, where he received an A.B. in Mathematics in 1972, an A.M. in Applied Mathematics in 1974 and a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics in 1976. He was a Research Fellow at Jesus College, University of Cambridge, in 197677 and then joined the faculty of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was Assistant Professor of Economics from 1977–80, Associate Professor of Economics from 1980–81 and Professor of Economics from 1981–84. He went on to join the faculty of Harvard University, where he served as Professor of Economics from 1985– 1997, at which time he was named Louis Berkman Professor of Economics. In 2000, Maskin joined the Faculty at the Institute as Albert O. Hirschman Professor in the School of Social Science.

Maskin is a Member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the European Economic Association, the Econometric Society and the Royal Academy of Economics and Finance (Spain). He is also a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy and an Honorary Fellow of Jesus and St. John’s Colleges in the University of Cambridge.

For further information about the lecture, which is free and open to the public, please call (609) 734-8175, or visit the Public Events page on the Institute website,

About the Institute for Advanced Study

The Institute for Advanced Study is one of the world’s leading centers for theoretical research and intellectual inquiry. The Institute exists to encourage and support curiosity-driven research in the sciences and humanities—the original, often speculative thinking that produces advances in knowledge that change the way we understand the world. Work at the Institute takes place in four Schools: Historical Studies, Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Social Science. It provides for the mentoring of scholars by a permanent Faculty of approximately 30, and it ensures the freedom to undertake research that will make significant contributions in any of the broad range of fields in the sciences and humanities studied at the Institute.

The Institute, founded in 1930, is a private, independent academic institution located in Princeton, New Jersey. Its more than 6,000 former Members hold positions of intellectual and scientific leadership throughout the academic world. Thirty-three Nobel Laureates and 40 out of 56 Fields Medalists, as well as many winners of the Wolf and MacArthur prizes, have been affiliated with the Institute.