“for having enhanced our understanding of conflict and cooperation through game-theory analysis.” I know much more about Schelling than I do Aumann, so my comments are largely based on this limited understanding.
I think the committee did an excellent job this year – signaling to all economists and non-economists alike that expositing a complicated mathematical formulation is not a necessary condition for doing great economics. If any of you enjoyed Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “The Tipping Point,” you will see a much more thorough and economically sound treatment in Schelling’s, “Micro Motives and Macro Behavior.” The book requires little to no economics background to appreciate and if you are interested in learning a bit more about how to “coordinate coordination failures in a wide range of social behaviors, then this is the book for you. There are no mind-boggling graphs or charts, there is no presentation of formal models and there is little to no esoteric jargon – making it a great way to teach the economic world-view in a way that engages people who are apprehensive or unaccustomed to the economic way of thinking.
Schelling is probably more famous for his work in, “The Strategy of Conflict” in which he lays out his concept of focal points, strategic motives, threats, promises, credibility and random strategies that became crucial in our understanding of national security issues and international relations. Again, the book is easily accessible to non-economists.
The award gives me hope that our profession will encourage teachers to direct students to devour the classics of economics (both contemporary and modern) and to learn about what the real meaning of economics is, not just the textbook definition.