Introduction to Game Theory
Seoul, South Korea
Area of Study
Taught In English
Course Level Recommendations
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Recommended U.S. Semester Credits3
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units4
Hours & Credits
This is an introductory course in game theory, a branch of applied mathematics. Game theory is a general theory of behavior and as such it is also a part of social science. While it has long been used in all social sciences, its impact of the last three decades has been extraordinary and unprecedented. My objective is to provide a reasonably comprehensive introduction to modern game theory. We will cover theory of preferences, expected utility theory, and a variety of solutions concepts including iterated dominance, Nash equilibria, subgame perfect equilibria, evolutionary equilibria and others.
I strongly recommend that you watch A Beautiful Mind (winner of 4 Oscars in 2002 including the best picture) a thriller about John Nash, a game theorist. It watches like a James Bond movie, and Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly are brilliant as John Nash and his wife. I will make references to characters featured in this movie throughout the class since many of them made important contributions to game theory.
The class will cover results of many prominent game theorists including John Nash, Tom Schelling, a colleague of mine at the University of Maryland, Reinhard Selten, and others. Nash, Schelling and Selten have all received Nobel Prizes for their contributions to game theory. There is only one textbook required for the class. You will need to buy it and bring it with you since ISC will not be selling any textbooks for summer classes. The fourth addition is quite expensive but you don’t need to buy this edition. Older editions are very similar and perfectly equivalent for our purpose—and their prices are much lower. Any one of the older editions would be sufficient. All other readings will be posted online.
- Avinash Dixit, Susan Skeath and David Reiley, Games of Strategy (4rd edition or any of the earlier ones), Norton, 2014. (required).
- The following readings will all be posted online:
- Joel Watson, Strategy (2nd edition), Norton, 2008 (excerpts from the 1st edition posted online.)
- Robert Axelrod, The Evolution of Cooperation, Basic Books, 2006 (excerpts posted online.)
- Other readings: David Kreps, Notes on the Theory of Choice, Westview Press, 1988,
- Raymond Wilder “The Axiomatic Method,” pages 1621-1640 in The World of Mathematics,
- Simon and Schuster, 1956, Kenneth Williams, Game Theory a Behavioral Approach, Oxford University Press, 2013 and papers by Bendor and Swistak.
Since publishers allow access to about 25% of copyrighted materials I took the liberty of scanning some of the required readings and posting them on the course web site. My selection is arbitrary and includes what I thought may be the most difficult parts of the material. These excerpts do not and cannot substitute for the entire reading.
SELECTED READINGS, AS WELL AS ALL OTHER CLASS MATERIALS (HOMEWORKS, HOMEWORK SOLUTIONS, LECTURE NOTES, ETC.) ARE POSTED ON THE WEB.
Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.