The pair won the prize "for having enhanced our understanding of conflict and cooperation through game-theory analysis", the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said on Monday.

Through their work, Aumann, 75, and Schelling, 84, have helped to "explain economic conflicts such as price wars and trade wars, as well as why some communities are more successful than others in managing common-pool resources", the academy said in its citation.

"The repeated-games approach clarifies the raison d'etre of many institutions, ranging from merchant guilds and organized crime to wage negotiations and international trade agreements."

Aumann, who was born in Frankfurt, Germany, but holds US and Israeli citizenship, is a professor at the Centre for Rationality at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Schelling is a professor at the University of Maryland's department of economics and a professor emeritus at Harvard.