Game Theory

Yale Course , Fall 2007 , Prof. Ben Polak

Lecture 1: Introduction

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Lecture Details :

We introduce Game Theory by playing a game. We organize the game into players, their strategies, and their goals or payoffs; and we learn that we should decide what our goals are before we make choices. With some plausible payoffs, our game is a prisoners' dilemma. We learn that we should never choose a dominated strategy; but that rational play by rational players can lead to bad outcomes. We discuss some prisoners' dilemmas in the real world and some possible real-world remedies. With other plausible payoffs, our game is a coordination problem and has very different outcomes: so different payoffs matter. We often need to think, not only about our own payoffs, but also others' payoffs. We should put ourselves in others' shoes and try to predict what they will do. This is the essence of strategic thinking.

Course Description :

Introduction - Putting yourselves into other peoples shoes - Iterative deletion and the median-voter theorem - Best responses in soccer and business partnerships - Nash equilibrium: bad fashion and bank runs - Nash equilibrium: dating and Cournot - Nash equilibrium: shopping, standing and voting on a line - Nash equilibrium: location, segregation and randomization - Mixed strategies in theory and tennis - Mixed strategies in baseball, dating and paying your taxes - Evolutionary stability: cooperation, mutation, and equilibrium - Evolutionary stability: social convention, aggression, and cycles - Sequential games: moral hazard, incentives, and hungry lions - Backward induction: commitment, spies, and first-mover advantages - Backward induction: chess, strategies, and credible threats - Backward induction: reputation and duels - Backward induction: ultimatums and bargaining - Imperfect information: information sets and sub-game perfection -Subgame perfect equilibrium: matchmaking and strategic investments - Subgame perfect equilibrium: wars of attrition - Repeated games: cooperation vs. the end game - Repeated games: cheating, punishment, and outsourcing - Asymmetric information: silence, signaling and suffering education - Asymmetric information: auctions and the winner

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