Course Meeting Times
Lectures: 1 session / week; 2 hours / session
Recitations: 1 session / week; 1 hour / session
Overview and Goals
This course provides an introduction to game theoretic analysis in political science. We study the concepts and models used to analyze political behavior in strategic contexts, including normal and extensive form games, games of incomplete information, repeated games, and bargaining.
Willingness to work hard on unfamiliar materials. Understanding of basic multivariate calculus. The course will occasionally rely on some methods of mathematical proof (e.g., proof by contradiction, proof by induction, etc.), but prior exposure to them is not assumed.
- Problem sets (7) (50% of the final course grade)
- Regular attendance and active participation in lectures and recitation sections. (10%)
- Final problem set (40%)
For details on the problem sets, see the Assignments section.
Notes on Academic Integrity
Please respect and follow the rules written at Academic Integrity: A Handbook for Students.
In particular, the following is a (partial) list of the acts we will consider academically dishonest:
- Obtaining or consulting course materials from previous years
- Sharing course materials with people outside of the class, such as problem sets and solutions
- Copying and pasting someone else’s answers to problem sets electronically, even if you collaborated with the person in a legitimate way (as specified above)
We will hold weekly recitation sessions. These sessions will provide a review of the class material and also help with problem sets. The teaching assistant will run the sessions and can give more details. Attendance is strongly encouraged.
There will be required readings for each section of the course. Students are expected to complete them before the relevant materials are covered in the lectures. The following textbook is required and will be used throughout the course.
- Gibbons, Robert S. Game Theory for Applied Economists. Princeton University Press, 1992. ISBN: 9780691003955. [Preview with Google Books]
The following books are optional but may prove useful to students looking for additional coverage of some of the course topics.
Other good textbooks:
- Osborne, Martin J. An Introduction to Game Theory. Oxford University Press, 2003. ISBN: 9780195128956.
- Fudenberg, Drew, and Jean Tirole. Game Theory. MIT Press, 1991. ISBN: 9780262061414. [Preview with Google Books] *
- Mas-Colell, Andreu, Michael D. Whinston, and Jerry R. Green. Microeconomic Theory. Oxford University Press, 1995. ISBN: 9780195073409. *
* These are recommended if you want more rigorous treatments of the materials covered in the course.
For political science applications:
- Persson, Torsten, and Guido Tabellini. Political Economics: Explaining Economic Policy. MIT Press, 2002. ISBN: 9780262661317. [Preview with Google Books]
- McCarty, Nolan, and Adam Meirowitz. Political Game Theory: An Introduction. Cambridge University Press, 2007. ISBN: 9780521841078. [Preview with Google Books]
For math background:
- Gill, Jeff. Essential Mathematics for Political and Social Research. Cambridge University Press, 2006. ISBN: 9780521684033. [Preview with Google Books]
- Simon, Carl P., and Lawrence Blume. Mathematics for Economists. W. W. Norton & Company, 1994. ISBN: 9780393957334.
For additional readings, see the Readings section.