GOV 385R • Game Theory
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
This course is an introduction to the theory of games, a useful tool for analyzing situations in which two or more actors interact and where the outcome of this interaction depends on the behavior of all the actors. Chess is a game, but so is running for President. One often hears that politics is a game. The point of this course is to give precise meaning to that statement. Game theory has been used to study political campaigns, legislative voting, international confict, ethnic group politics, and other topics. The applications really are only limited by the imagination of the researcher. What this course will do is provide a thorough but elementary introduction to this theory. The theory is stated in mathematical form, but this math can be reduced to a very simple level--that of high school algebra. What is needed from the student is not a mathematical background but intellectual curiosity and a willingness to follow a logical argument.
Grades will be based on two in-cass exams. The questions are designed only to test a basic understanding of the material and should be relatively simple for those who keep up with the reading and lectures. The point of the tests is not to ask brainteasers but to give you an incentive to keep up with the material.
I will either use Ken Binmore's FUN AND GAMES or a new book, STRATEGY: AN INTRODUCTION TO GAME THEORY by Joel Watson. If the Watson book is too advanced, I will use Binmore. In addition, there are a few chapters at the end of Dixit and Skeath's book which are political applications of game theory, and I will also include them.