Game Theory

Game theory - a master course

The course introduces a person to non-cooperative and cooperative game theory. The students will receive a broad overview of the branches of game theory, and subsequently dive into non-cooperative solution concepts and efficiency measures. We consider several models and important classes of such games.

The second part of the course deals with cooperative solution concepts and classes of games


The required preliminaries consist of calculus, probability and combinatorics.

Additionally, this course assumes a good understanding of mathematics, notions such as definition and proof, basic set theory, linearity, sufficiency, necessity, characterisations, etc. Understanding the mathematical way of thinking is necessary.



Game theory areas (non-cooperative, cooperative, MD (auctions, etc.), epistemic GT, evolutionary GT, logic in GT, etc.)
Utility theory (Von-Neumann Morgenstern) and rationality assumption
Normative approach here (rather than descriptive)


Non-cooperative game theory:
Normal form games
Extensive games
Succinct representations (polymatrix games, graphical games, etc.)

(In)Complete and (im)perfect information assumptions
(In)finite games

Normal (= strategic)-form games:

(Pure) Nash equilibrium
Examples (of non-existence too)
Efficiency (prices if anarchy and stability (PoA, PoS))

Strongly/weakly dominant strategies
(1st and 2nd price) auctions example

Mixed strategies, mixed extension, and MNE (Mixed Nash Equilibrium)
Strongly/weakly dominated strategies
Elimination + order-dependent for weak (and independent for strong - later)
The influence of elimination on NE

(Exact) potential games
Equivalence to congestion games

Zero-sum games
(maxmin, minmax, value, exchangeability of NE strategies)

Mixed extension
Mixed NE
(Finite existence)

Properties of mixed NE, general (mixed dominance), symmetric games, constant-sum, potential
Finding mixed NE (general alg. and examples)

Rationalizability + order independence of elimination

Social welfare
Prices of anarchy and stability
Examples (coordination, routing, etc.)

Correlated and coarse correlated equilibrium
Strong Nash equilibrium
Evolutionary equilibrium and evolutionary games

Extensive games
A winning strategy and proof techniques
Zermelo's algorithm
Examples: chess, checkers, chomp

SPE (Subgame-Prefect Equilibria)

(In)finitely repeated games (prisoner's dilemma, etc.)
Folk theorems

Cooperative games:
Non-transferable and transferable utility
General properties

Transferable utility:
Simple games

Bondareva-Shapley characterisation theorem

The Shapley value and its axiomatic characterisation



The necessary material consists of the slides, lectures, tutorials and home works.

The additional reading consists of:

A Course in Game Theory by Martin J. Osborne and Ariel Rubinstein, 1994, besides the definition of extensive form games
Game Theory by Michael Maschler, Eilon Solan and Shmuel Zamir, 2013

An Introduction to Game Theory by Martin J. Osborne, 2004, besides the definition of extensive form games
Game Theory: A Multi-Leveled Approach by Hans Peters, 2008
Game Theory And Mechanism Design by Y. Narahari, 2014

Algorithmic game theory, edited by Noam Nisan, Tim Roughgarden, Eva Tardos and Vijay V. Vazirani

A site to acquire a deeper understanding:

Concrete topics from their creators:
Non-Cooperative Games by John F. Nash, 1951 - about mixed Nash equilibrium
Potential Games by Dov Monderer and Lloyd S. Shapley, 1994 - about potential games