17.810 | Spring 2021 | Undergraduate, Graduate
Game Theory

Readings

[F] = Fudenberg, Drew, and Jean Tirole. Game Theory. MIT Press, 1991. ISBN: ‎9780262061414. 

[G] = Gibbons, Robert S. Game Theory for Applied Economists. Princeton University Press, 1992. ISBN: ‎9780691003955. 

[M] = Mas-Colell, Andreu, Michael D. Whinston, and Jerry R. Green. Microeconomic Theory. Oxford University Press, 1995. ISBN: ‎9780195073409. 

[MC] = McCarty, Nolan, and Adam Meirowitz. Political Game Theory: An Introduction. Cambridge University Press, 2007. ISBN: ‎9780521841078. 

[P] = Persson, Torsten, and Guido Tabellini. Political Economics: Explaining Economic Policy. MIT Press, 2002. ISBN: ‎9780262661317. 

Lecture 1: Rationality and Rational Choice

Required Readings:

Cameron, Charles M. “Rational Choice and the Presidency.” Chapter 3 in Veto Bargaining: Presidents and the Politics of Negative Power. Cambridge University Press, 2000. ISBN: 9780521625500. 

Ignore the specific application to presidential vetoes; the method described (and defended) here is what this course prepares you to practice.

[M] Chapter 1: Preference and Choice.

[MC] Chapter 1: Introduction. 

Lecture 2: Games in Strategic Form and Nash Equilibrium

Required Reading:

[G] Chapter 1.1: Basic Theory: Normal-Form Games and Nash Equilibrium. [Preview with Google Books]

Optional Readings:

[G] Chapter 1.2: Applications. [Preview with Google Books]

[MC] Chapter 5.1: The Normal Form. 

[MC] Chapter 5.2: Solutions to Normal Form Games.

[MC] Chapter 5.6: Application: Interest Group Contributions. 

Lecture 3: Mixed Strategy Nash Equilibrium

Required Reading:

[G] Chapter 1.3.A: Mixed Strategies. 

Optional Readings:

[MC] Chapter 3.1: The Finite Case. 

[F] Chapter 1: Games in Strategic Form and Nash Equilibrium. [Preview with Google Books] (advanced)

Lecture 4A: Extensive Form Games with Complete Information: Dynamic Games of Complete and Perfect Information

Required Readings:

[G] Chapter 2.1.A: Theory: Backwards Induction. 

[G] Chapter 2.1.B: Stackelberg Model of Duopoly. 

Lecture 4B: Extensive Form Games with Complete Information: Dynamic Games of Complete and Imperfect Information

Required Readings:

[G] Chapter 2.2.A: Theory: Subgame Perfection. 

[G] Chapter 2.2.B: Bank Runs. 

[G] Chapter 2.4: Dynamic Games of Complete but Imperfect Information

Optional Reading:

Grossman, Gene M, and Elhanan Helpman. “Protection for Sale.” American Economic Review 84, no. 4 (1994): 833–50.

Lecture 5A: Repeated Games: Finitely Repeated Games

Required Reading:

[G] Chapter 2.3.A: Two-Stage Repeated Games. 

Lecture 5B: Repeated Games: Infinitely Repeated Games

Required Reading:

[G] Chapter 2.3.B: Infinitely Repeated Games. 

Optional Readings:

Grossman, Gene M., and Elhanan Helpman. “Trade Wars and Trade Talks.” (PDF) Journal of Political Economy 103, no. 4 (1995): 675–708.

Baron, David P., and John A. Ferejohn. “Bargaining in Legislatures.” American Political Science Review 83, no. 4 (1989): 1181–1206.

Lecture 6: Static Games of Incomplete Information

Required Reading:

[G] Chapter 3: Static Games of Incomplete Information.

Optional Reading:

Fearon, James D. “Rationalist Explanations for War.” International Organization 49, no. 3 (1995): 379–414.

Lecture 7: Dynamic Games of Incomplete Information

Required Readings:

[G] Chapter 4.1: Introduction to Perfect Bayesian Equilibrium.

[G] Chapter 4.2: Signaling Games.

[G] Chapter 4.3A: Cheap-Talk Games.

Optional Reading:

Potters, Jan, and Frans van Winden. “Lobbying and Asymmetric Information.” Public Choice 74, no. 3 (1992): 269–92.

Lecture 8: Social Choice

No readings assigned.

Lecture 9: Additional Topics

  • Bounded Rationality
  • Algorithmic Game Theory
  • Evolutionary Game Theory
  • Agent-Based Modeling

No readings assigned.

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Spring 2021
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