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Norman James Schofield


Norman James Schofield, American educator. Grantee British Council, Brussels, Belgium, 1973, Social Science Research Council, London, 1972-1973, British Academy, London, 1980, Nuffield Foundation, London, 1975; Wolfson fellowship, British Academy, Berlin, 1976, Leverhulme fellowship, Brussels, 1977. Member Society for Promotion of Economic Theory, American Economic Association, Public Choice Society.


Schofield, Norman James was born on January 30, 1944 in Rothesay, Bute, Scotland. Son of James Schofield and Muriel (MacIlravey) McDermott.


Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, Liverpool University, 1966. Doctor of Letters, Liverpool University, 1986. Doctor of Philosophy in Government, Essex University, 1976.

Doctor of Philosophy in Economics, Essex University, 1985.


Associate professor University Texas, Austin, 1976-1979. Reader in economics University Essex, Colchester, England, 1979-1986. Hallsworth fellow University Manchester, England, 1982-1983.

Sherman Fairchild fellow California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, 1983-1984, visiting professor, 1984-1985. Fellow Center for Advanced Study, Stanford University, Stanford, California, 1988-1989. Professor economics Washington University, St. Louis, since 1986.

Director Center in Political Economy Washington University, since 1990, William Taussig professor political economy, since 1991. Lecturer government University Essex, 1970. Lecturer political science Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, 1973.

Consultant Productive Employment Program, Los Angeles, 1984. Research political scientist University Irvine, Irvine, California, 1984-1985.


  • British Academy Wolfson Fellow, 1976. Leverhulme Faculty Fellow, 1977. National Science Foundation, USA Fellow, 1979.

    Hallsworth Fellow, University Manchester,

    3. Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Scholar, California Institute, Institution Technology, 1983-1984.



My original training was in physics and mathematics, and as a graduate student at Liverpool I studied differential topology and dynamical systems. I was particularly impressed by the work of René Thom in catastrophe theory, and by the applications of this theory to the social sciences made by Chris Zeeman. While in the mathematics department at Essex I did some work in game theory and social choice, and was happy to move over to the department of government.

In the early 1970s I came across the work of Steven Smale on applying singularity theory to general equilibrium theory, and eventually wrote up a doctoral thesis on the applications of singularity theory to social choice. Some of this work was published in the Review of Economic Studies, and Journal of Economic Theory. Over the next few

years at the University of Texas, Austin, I developed these methods to show that general social choice processes involving coalitions are fundamentally chaotic.

More precisely I showed that such processes are classified by two integers, the stability and instability dimensions. Below the stability dimension, equilibria exist, while above the instability integers, chaos occurs almost always. Although the theorem has obvious relevance in political theory, there is no reason to suppose that economic systems are not similarly classifiable.

My other interests are in game theory, with application, for example, in international economics, and I am becoming increasingly interested in the theory of knowledge. It seems to me that games (of chess, of life, of economic behaviour, etc.) are only partly describable in terms of utility maximisation but instead have as a key feature the generation of knowledge (about nature, other players, etc.). It is not clear as yet how to represent such games and the more fundamental question is how to represent knowledge itself.


Member Society for Promotion of Economic Theory, American Economic Association, Public Choice Society.


  • Other Interests



Married Elizabeth Mary Moore, July 29, 1967. Children: Thomas, Isobel, Camilla.

James Schofield McDermott

Muriel (MacIlravey) McDermott

Elizabeth Mary Moore

Thomas Schofield

Isobel Schofield

Camilla Schofield