Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources (OER) are freely accessible, openly licensed documents and media that are useful for teaching, learning, educational, assessment and research purposes.

Reviews (1)

Diwakar Chittora

Good Course

Learn good things abt Game theory !


This course is an introduction to game theory and strategic thinking. Ideas such as dominance, backward induction, Nash equilibrium, evolutionary stability, commitment, credibility, asymmetric information, adverse selection, and signaling are discussed and applied to games played in class and to examples drawn from economics, politics, the movies, and elsewhere.


Who should take this course?
This course is an introduction to game theory. Introductory microeconomics (115 or equivalent) is required. Intermediate micro (150/2) is not required, but it is recommended. We will use calculus (mostly one variable) in this course. We will also refer to ideas like probability and expectation. Some may prefer to take the course next academic year once they have more background. Students who have already taken Econ 156b should not enroll in this class.

Course Aims and Methods.
Game theory is a way of thinking about strategic situations. One aim of the course is to teach you some strategic considerations to take into account making your choices. A second aim is to predict how other people or organizations behave when they are in strategic settings. We will see that these aims are closely related. We will learn new concepts, methods and terminology. A third aim is to apply these tools to settings from economics and from elsewhere. The course will emphasize examples.

Outline and Reading.
Most of the reading for this course comes from the first ten chapters of Dutta or from the first two parts of Watson. There will be a reading packet for weeks 6-7. The readings are not compulsory, but they will help back up the class material.

Course books


Ben Polak is Professor of Economics and Management in the Department of Economics and the School of Management at Yale University. He received his B.A. from Trinity College, Cambridge University, his M.A. from Northwestern University, and his Ph.D. from Harvard University. A specialist in microeconomic theory and economic history, he has published in Economic Letters, Journal of Economic Theory, Journal of Economic History, Journal of Legal Studies, Journal of Theoretical and Institutional Economics, and Econometrica. His current projects include "Generalized Utilitarianism and Harsanyi's Impartial Observer Theorem" and "Mean-Dispersion Preferences."


Creative Commons License
Game Theory by Ben Polak is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at

Course content

  • Lecture 1 Introduction: Five First Lessons

  • Lecture 2 Putting Yourselves into Other People's Shoes

  • Lecture 3 Iterative Deletion and the Median-Voter Theorem

  • Lecture 4 Best Responses in Soccer and Business Partnerships

  • Lecture 5 Nash Equilibrium: Bad Fashion and Bank Runs

  • Lecture 6 Nash Equilibrium: Dating and Cournot

  • Lecture 7 Nash Equilibrium: Shopping, Standing and Voting on a Line

  • Lecture 8 Nash Equilibrium: Location, Segregation and Randomization

  • Lecture 9 Mixed Strategies in Theory and Tennis

  • Lecture 10 Mixed Strategies in Baseball, Dating and Paying Your Taxes

  • Lecture 11 Evolutionary Stability: Cooperation, Mutation, and Equilibrium

  • Lecture 12 Evolutionary Stability: Social Convention, Aggression, and Cycles

  • Exam 1 Midterm Exam

  • Lecture 13 Sequential Games: Moral Hazard, Incentives, and Hungry Lions

  • Lecture 14 Backward Induction: Commitment, Spies, and First-Mover Advantages

  • Lecture 15 Backward Induction: Chess, Strategies, and Credible Threats

  • Lecture 16 Backward Induction: Reputation and Duels

  • Lecture 17 Backward Induction: Ultimatums and Bargaining

  • Lecture 18 Imperfect Information: Information Sets and Sub-Game Perfection

  • Lecture 19 Subgame Perfect Equilibrium: Matchmaking and Strategic Investments

  • Lecture 20 Subgame Perfect Equilibrium: Wars of Attrition

  • Lecture 21 Repeated Games: Cooperation vs. the End Game

  • Lecture 22 Repeated Games: Cheating, Punishment, and Outsourcing

  • Lecture 23 Asymmetric Information: Silence, Signaling and Suffering Education

  • Lecture 24 Asymmetric Information: Auctions and the Winner's Curse

  • Exam 2 Final Exam

Interested? Enroll to this course right now.

There is more to learn