Saturday, April 9, 2011

Course on Game Theory

I think I’ve mentioned, on occasion, the role that game theory plays in my own thinking. Despite my fascination with this analytical tool, I have never actually taken a formal course in game theory. Instead, I dabble with various elements of it as they seem relevant to my own research work.

To make up for my lack of training in this area, I have gone through several of the online video lecture series on game theory. In particular, the following three:

Ben Polak, Open Yale Courses - Game Theory

John Fountain, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

Kathleen Bawn, UCLA - Politics, Strategy and Game Theory

Of these three courses, I found Ben Polak’s to be, by far and away, the best. He is an engaging lecturer and, on the whole, his classes are fun to watch. That said, the other courses cover some areas that he doesn’t and so can be beneficial as supplements. For example, Bawn’s course focuses on political examples, which I happen to like.

Anyway, in order to consolidate what I have learned from these courses, and to share it with those who would like to learn more about this topic, I have decided to write up my own introductory series on game theory. This series will follow the format and sequence of Polak’s Yale lectures, but will hopefully be self-contained (i.e. you won’t need to watch the lectures to fully understand it). It will not shy away from the formal and mathematical concepts employed in game theory, but it will try to explain those concepts in a fairly elementary way.

This post will serve as an index to the entire series.

1. The First Four Lessons
2. The Formal Ingredients
3. Weak Dominance, Iterated Deletion and Common Knowledge
4. The Median Voter Theorem

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