Lectures: 1 session / week, 2 hours / session
This course/workshop aims to provide an invigorating intellectual environment for graduate students and junior faculty who are interested in economic theory. We will discuss research ideas and explore topics in game theory and more broadly in economic theory.
We usually have minimal structure. The topics and the activities are determined by the participants. Participants may present their own work in any stage of progress. Ideally, the other participants will grill the presenter by their questions and counter-arguments. Such discussions are meant to be beneficial for graduate students in their dissertation work, both for the presenter and the critics, and will hopefully inspire participants to new research. We also present others' papers in the topics of interest.
Every year, depending on the people around, certain topics are explored in greater detail than others. These topics were evolutionary game theory in 2000-2001, when Weibull visited us, belief formation in 2001-2002, when Milgrom visited us, and higher-order beliefs and topics in behavioral economics in 2002-2003. This year I intend to focus on the topics that would be useful in application, and also provide applications of the theoretical ideas. Hence, I will slightly deviate from our own tradition, and teach some bargaining theory and its applications, including empirical studies, at the beginning of the course/workshop. The target audience for this part will be graduate students, and at times these particular meetings may feel like a course. We will then switch to our usual unstructured workshop format. Our potential participants have shown interest already in two topics. Firstly, in the last couple years, Jonathan Weinstein and I have been extensively working on theoretical issues on the impact of higher-order beliefs, while Marios Angeletos and Ivan Werning were working on macroeconomic applications in which higher-order beliefs play a central role. In the workshop, we will discuss both theory and application of higher-order beliefs. Hopefully this will uncover partial information gathered in both sides and lead to cross-fertilization and further research. Secondly, there is a recent interest in unawareness, and several decision theory and game theory papers have been written on this topic. With the help of Haluk Ergin, we will explore these early ideas on modeling unawareness and brainstorm on modeling unawareness and incorporating it in economic theories. Given that the researchers are struggling to model unawareness, we are not aware of any application, but that may a good opportunity to find some.
Needless to say, the level of focus on these topics will be determined by the interest by the participants, and suggestions for new topics are most welcome.
To get a credit, a student needs to write a paper that applies some of the ideas discussed in the class and present it.