Jim Ratliff’s graduate-level course in game theory

Composite of various graphics from course

Here are 14 chapters of lecture notes from a one-semester game-theory course I taught to students in their second year of the economics PhD program at the University of Arizona during the 1992-1997 period.

The material presented would also be helpful to first-year PhD students learning game theory as part of their microeconomic-theory sequence, as well as to advanced undergraduates learning game theory. I consider the exposition detailed, rigorous, and self-contained.

I no longer teach game theory, so these notes are currently frozen in this state. I’m making them available here because I still get requests for them. I have not updated them to reflect subsequent advances. I also won’t be correcting any errors (though I hope that most of them have already been caught!) or adding any topics.

These notes are in PDF format. You can download the entire course as a single compressed folder (holding 14 separate PDFs) or you can follow each chapter’s link below in the Course Table of Contents (or select from the “Game-theory course” menu above) to read the abstract of, and/or download, that chapter.

Nuance Abounds is the new home for these notes. They were previously available at virtualperfection.com/gametheory.

I always appreciate hearing from anyone who downloads them and finds them useful.

Course Table of Contents

  1. Strategic-form games
  2. Nonequilibrium solution concepts
    1. Strategic dominance
    2. Iterated dominance and rationalizability
  3. Nash equilibrium—theory and calculation
    1. Nash equilibrium
    2. Computing mixed-strategy Nash equilibria of 2×2 strategic-form games
  4. Extensive-form Games
    1. Introduction to extensive-form games
    2. Strategies in extensive-form games
    3. Solution concepts in extensive-form games
  5. Repeated games
    1. Introduction to repeated games
    2. Infinitely repeated games with discounting
    3. A Folk Theorem sampler
  6. Bayesian games
    1. Static games of incomplete information
    2. Perfect Bayesian equilibria of sender-receiver (signaling) games
    3. Perfect Bayesian equilibria of extensive-form games



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