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POL S 576 A: Introduction to Game Theory for Political Economy Research

Meeting Time: 
T 1:30pm - 4:20pm
DEN 212
Joint Sections: 
POL S 476 A
Caitlin Ainsley

Syllabus Description:

Game theoretic models have become a standard analytical tool in social science research, making it crucial for students to acquire at least a basic familiarity with these methods.  This course provides an introduction to game theoretic modeling, focusing in particular on non-cooperative game theory and its applications in canonical and contemporary research.  

This course will be a rigorous methodological introduction to the core concepts of non-cooperative game theory, emphasizing applications and modeling techniques relevant to applied research in political science and the social sciences more broadly.  Students will be exposed to a variety of analytical frameworks and models including expected utility theory, normal and extensive form games, and games of complete and incomplete information.  In addition, we will focus on applications of some of the workhorse game theoretic models in the social sciences including bargaining and signaling models, among others.    

Although we will rarely use more than basic algebra and calculus, the material covered in the course is analytically demanding and may require students to brush up on mathematical techniques. That said, the challenge for applied game theorists and usefulness of the tools is in the understanding the logic behind models, not the math.  This course assumes no prior experience with either formal modeling or mathematical coursework.  We will begin the course with a review of all necessary mathematical tools and notation.

Catalog Description: 
Introduction to non-cooperative game theory. Covers expected utility theory, static and dynamic games, and games of complete and incomplete information including signaling and bargaining models. Focus on applications in the social sciences.
Last updated: 
July 7, 2022 - 10:00pm