Steven Brams

Steven Brams

Steven J. Brams, professor at New York University, specializing in game theory; co-inventor with Alan D. Taylor of the fair division procedure, Adjusted Winner, and one of the independent discoverers of approval voting.
Born Steven J. Brams
(1940-11-28) November 28, 1940
Concord, New Hampshire
Nationality American
Fields Political science
Institutions Syracuse University
New York University
Alma mater Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Northwestern University
Known for Independent discoverer of approval voting
Solved the problem of envy-free cake-cutting
Has applied game theory to a wide range of strategic situations

Steven J. Brams (born November 28, 1940, in Concord, New Hampshire) is an American game theorist and political scientist at the New York University Department of Politics. Brams is best known for using the techniques of game theory, public choice theory, and social choice theory to analyze voting systems and fair division. He is one of the independent discoverers of approval voting,[1] as well as an extension of approval voting to multiple-winner elections known as Satisfaction approval voting.[2]

Brams was a co-discoverer, with Alan Taylor, of the first envy-free cake-cutting solution for n people.[3] Previous to the Brams-Taylor procedure, the cake-cutting problem had been one of the most important open problems in contemporary mathematics.[4] He is co-inventor with Taylor of the fair-division procedure, Adjusted Winner,[5] which was patented by New York University in 1999 (# 5,983,205).[6] Adjusted Winner has been licensed to a Boston law firm, which formed a company, Fair Outcomes, Inc.,[7] that markets several fair-division algorithms.

Brams has applied game theory to a wide variety of strategic situations, from the Bible[8][9] to international relations.[10][11]


Brams earned his B.S. at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Politics, Economics, and Science in 1962. In 1966, he earned his Ph.D. in Political Science at Northwestern University.


Brams worked briefly in U.S. federal government positions and for the Institute for Defense Analyses before taking an Assistant Professor position at Syracuse University in 1967. He moved to New York University in 1969, where he is Professor in the Department of Politics. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Rochester, the University of Michigan, the University of California, Irvine, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University.

In 1990-1991 he was president of the Peace Science Society (International);[12] in 2004-2006, he was president of the Public Choice Society.[13] [14] He is a Guggenheim Fellow (1986–87), an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow (1992), and was a Russell Sage Foundation Visiting Scholar (1998–99).



  1. Brams, Steven & Fishburn, Peter (1978). "Approval Voting". American Political Science Review. 72 (3): 831–847. doi:10.2307/1955105. JSTOR 1955105.
  2. Steven J. Brams, D. Marc Kilgour (2014): "Satisfaction approval voting." Voting Power and Procedures, pp 323-346
  3. Steven J. Brams; Alan D. Taylor (January 1995). "An Envy-Free Cake Division Protocol". The American Mathematical Monthly. Mathematical Association of America. 102 (1): 9–18. doi:10.2307/2974850. JSTOR 2974850.
  4. Will Hively (March 1995). "Dividing the spoils - Steven Brams, Alan Taylor devise procedure to divide anything equitably". Discover Magazine.
  5. Adjusted Winner
  6. Adjusted Winner US patent
  7. Fair Outcomes, Inc.
  8. Biblical Games: Game Theory and the Hebrew Bible. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1980. Rev. ed., 2003 (MIT Press). Japanese translation, 2006
  9. Game Theory and the Humanities: Bridging Two Worlds. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2011
  10. Superpower Games: Applying Game Theory to Superpower Conflict. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1985
  11. Co-authored with D. Marc Kilgour, Game Theory and National Security. New York: Basil Blackwell, 1988. Spanish translation, 1989
  12. Peace Science Society (International)
  13. Public Choice Society: Past Presidents
  14. Public Choice Society
  15. Steven J. Brams (2008). Mathematics and Democracy: Designing Better Voting and Fair-Division Procedures. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691133218.
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