Martin Shubik papers, 1938-2022, bulk 1944-2018

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Shubik, Martin
Martin Shubik (1926-2018) was the Seymour H. Knox Professor Emeritus of Mathematical Institutional Economics at Yale University. This collection primarily documents his professional life through his correspondence, writings, research, and professional and faculty activities. It forms part of the Economists' Papers Archive.
211 Linear Feet (166 record cartons, eight document boxes, two oversize folders, and one electronic records box.)
0.2 Gigabytes (One set.)
Material in English.
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

The most common types of material in this collection include correspondence; presentation material and proposals; memoranda and reports; referee reports; class and research notes; drafts, proofs, and reprints; course syllabi, lecture notes, and assignments; and activity reports and recommendations. There is also audiovisual material (audio reels and CDs) and electronic records, the latter of which have been transferred to a server and are available.

The greatest amount of correspondence is with Kenneth Arrow, Gerard Debreu, Milton Friedman, Oskar Morgenstern (dissertation supervisor), John Nash, Paul Samuelson, Herbert Scarf, and Lloyd Shapley (main collaborator). There are also 16 folders of personal correspondence in the Personal series.

The primary subjects are general equilibrium, game theory, the core, oligopoly and market structure, defense and war game analysis, nuclear deterrence, behavior and risk, financial institutions, and money. These subjects are especially visible in the Writings series, which contains the greatest amount of material.

Biographical / historical:

Martin Shubik (1926-2018) was a white American academic economist who specialized in game theory, defense analysis, and the theory of money and financial institutions. The latter was his main research interest and he coined the term "mathematical institutional economics" in 1959 to describe it and referred to it as his "white whale," only considering it caught after publishing his final five books on the topic. He also launched the virtual Museum of Money and Financial Institutions. Outside of economics, he began studying inclusion body myositis (IBM) after a 2003 diagnosis. He provided seed money to the Yale School of Public Health for the IBM Disease Registry in 2011, a survey was conducted in 2012-2013, and he is a coauthor on a 2015 paper about the initial results, along with his son-in-law Seth Richards-Shubik.

Shubik was born on 24 March 1926 in New York City, New York to Joseph and Sara Shubik (born Sara Soloveychik; both of whom were Jewish, but Russian and French, respectively). However, Joseph Shubik worked for a Scottish flax and linen company and the family returned to London when Martin Shubik was just three months old. He remained in England until World War II, when he, Sara Shubik, and younger sister Irene Shubik (1929-2019) were sent to join relatives in Canada, while Joseph Shubik and older brother Philippe Shubik (1921-2004) stayed behind. To fulfill a condition of enrollment in college in Canada during the War, Martin Shubik enlisted in the Royal Canadian Navy and held the rank of lieutenant before retiring in 1950.

Shubik earned a BA in Mathematics (1947) and MA in Political Economy (1949) from the University of Toronto and an AM (1951) and PhD (1953) in Economics from Princeton University, where his dissertation was supervised by Oskar Morgenstern. His other teachers included Albert Tucker, John von Neumann, and Jacob Viner; his roommates were future Nobel Prize winners Lloyd Shapley and John Nash; and his classmates included Thomas Whitin, Otto Eckstein, Gary Becker, Marvin Minsky, John McCarthy, Herbert Scarf, Ralph Gomory, Richard Karlin, Alan Hoffman, and Harlan Mills.

Shubik and Shapley used the Shapley value to formulate the Shapley-Shubik power index in 1954 to measure the power of players in a voting game. Shubik's curriculum vitae lists over 20 books and 300 articles, with Shapley being his most frequent collaborator (14 articles). Nash also appears twice, including with Shapley and Mel Hausner on "So Long Sucker--A Four Person Game" about a board game that they invented.

Before fully committing to academia, Shubik spent time at General Electric Company (GE) as a consultant in Management Consultation Services from 1956-1960 and International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) as a staff member in the T. J. Watson Research Laboratories from 1961 to 1963. During his life, he served as a consultant and expert witness for many other companies, organizations, and government agencies, including the RAND Corporation. Later in life, he was an External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute from 1995-2018.

Shubik spent most of his career at Yale University, where he was Professor of the Economics of Organization from 1963-1975, then the Seymour H. Knox Professor of Mathematical Institutional Economics from 1975 until his retirement in 2007 (after which he became emeritus). He was also Director of the Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics from 1973-1976 and a founding faculty member of the Yale School of Management (originally the School of Organization and Management). He taught courses in economics, game theory, and investment theory and practice.

Shubik's awards included the Frederick W. Lanchester Prize (1984) for Game Theory in the Social Sciences, vol. 1 and the Koopman Prize (1995) with Jerome Bracken from the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), and he was a Distinguished Fellow of the American Economic Association (2010).

Shubik was married to Julie Kahn (died 2018) and had one child, Claire Louise Shubik (born 1973). Irene Shubik became a British television producer and Philippe Shubik a cancer researcher.


Yale School of Public Health. "Background of the Yale IBM Registry."

Beach, Randall. "Yale professor recalled as brilliant economist, loving family man." New Haven Register, September 2, 2018.

Santa Fe Institute. "In Memoriam: Martin Shubik," August 28, 2018.

Malhotra, Saumya. "Martin Shubik, eminent economist, dies at 92." Yale Daily News, September 4, 2018.

INFORMS. "Martin Shubik." and

American Economic Association. "Martin Shubik, Distinguished Fellow 2010," 2010.

Yale School of Management. "Remembering Prof. Martin Shubik, 1926-2018," August 30, 2018.

Roberts, Sam. "Martin Shubik, 92, Dies; Foresaw Rise of Computing." New York Times. September 1, 2018.

Museum of Money and Financial Institutions. "Welcome."

Acquisition information:
The Martin Shubik papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library as gifts from Martin Shubik, Liz Viloudaki, and Claire Shubik-Richards between 1992-2022.
Processing information:

Processed by Spencer Banzhaf, Debbera Carson, Jonathan Cogliano, Danilo Da Costa, Joanne Fairhurst, Catherine Hersfeld, Paula Jeannet Mangiafico, Trey McLean, Laurin Penland, and Matthew Warren.

Machine-readable finding aid created by Danilo Da Costa, Joanne Fairhurst, Catherine Hersfeld, Paula Jeannet Mangiafico, Don Sechler, and Matthew Warren; updated by Jon Cogliano, June 2018.

Electronic records processed by Zachary Tumlin, July 2022.

Accessions described in this collection guide: from 1992, 2002-0060, 2003-0073, 2005-0072, 2008-0115, 2012-0148, 2013-0153, 2014-0026, 2015-0101, 2016-0111, 2018-0045, 2018-0050, 2018-0058, and 2021-0024.


The Martin Shubik papers are arranged into seven series: Audiovisual, Correspondence, Professional Service, Research and Notes, Writings, Academia, and Personal.

Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard


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Access restricted. One electronic file in the Writings by Others subseries contains personally identificable information for Robert Lucas. Contact Research Services for more information.

Access note. Some materials in this collection are electronic records that require special equipment. Contact Research Services with questions.

Access note. Some materials in this collection are fragile audiovisual formats that may need to be reformatted before use. Contact Research Services for access.

Access restricted. Accessions 2019-0160, 2021-0081, and 2022-0105 are unprocessed and require additional arrangement, description, and/or screening. Contact Research Services for more information.

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The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the Rubenstein Library's Citations, Permissions, and Copyright guide.

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Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], Martin Shubik papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Duke University.