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Courses: SYSC 552/652: Game Theory

Game theory involves the study of cooperation and competition, without regard to the particular entities involved, and issues of rationality associated with such phenomena. The course presents the basic ideas of game theory, especially those concerning (a) 2-person zero-sum games, which the theory solves, and (b) 2- (or nequivalent-) person nonzero-sum games, which have no general solution and which often exhibit paradoxical features. Of particular substantive interest are dilemmas of collective action, which characterize many social, economic, and political problems. Of particular methodological interest are simulation techniques used to extend game-theory into domains where analytical results are impossible.

Also covered are (c) 2-person cooperative games (bargaining & arbitration), which have alternative plausible solutions; (d) coalition theory (nnon-equivalent-person games), in which analysis is complex and limited; and (e) social choice theory, which reveals the difficulties in integrating individual preferences into collective decisions. Emphasis in the course is on the findings of game theory, especially as they apply to the social sciences, rather than on the purely technical aspects of the theory.

For more information, see the Spring 2006 Syllabus