More interesting games than the prisoner’s dilemma

One of my favorite courses in grad school was a seminar in Game Theory. Here my good friend Jim Campbell asks us to reconsider how it is taught and gives a quick glimpse into why it can be so fun…

Jim Campbell

I think game theory is awesome. First of all, it is the most ingeniously named field in the history of thought. Who doesn’t want to study something called “game theory”? Marketing!

Second of all, it forces a student—it certainly forced me—to confront kinds of logic, problem-solving, and epistemological questions that are quite different to the norm. Certainly quite different to the norm elsewhere in economics, at least. It is thinking about thinking, which for a certain type of person is a fun rabbit hole.

Game theory is about how we can try to understand situations in which the outcome of my choice depends also on what you choose. These are situations with strategic interaction. I can’t just pick the thing I like best, as in the standard rational choice model. I have to think about what you want, what you might do, how you might respond, what you think…

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