Swiss Summer School 2008

CÚdric Dupont
Applied Game Theory

CÚdric Dupont Professor of Political Science, Director of Executive Education and of the Master Program in International Affairs at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland, where he teaches courses in international political economy, regional integration as well as research design and methods for social scientists. Previously, he has taught at the University of Geneva and at the University of California at Berkeley. In his work, Dr. Dupont has used game theoretic tools to study processes of conflict and negotiation, the problem of the provision of public and club goods, institutional design and the political economy of international economic institutions.

Prof. CÚdric Dupont Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies 11a, avenue de la Paix 1202 Geneva, Switzerland

Workshop contents and objectives

Game theory has become a standard tool for analysis of situations of interdependence in social sciences. It provides a comprehensive toolbox that facilitates an in-depth exploration of actor's interactions. Games theory assumes actors' basic preferences and their strategic environment, and then helps researchers derive, from these preferences and environment, the likely outcome(s) of the interplay among actors with a variety of decision choices. Aside from its predictive aim, game theory has a strong appeal for anyone engaged in explanation, investigation, or prescription. It often makes ostensibly puzzling processes intelligible, without attributing causality to factors such as the incompetence, irresponsibility, or lack of concern of decision-makers.

The main aim of the course is to provide students with core game theoretic tools that they can readily apply in their own research. The focus will therefore not only on giving the tools but also on helping students develop research designs amenable to the use of game theory. In addition to providing an introduction to game theory, the course will cover some intermediary topics in game theory (such as Bayesian games) but will not deal with more advanced topics (such as sophisticated equilibrium refinements, mechanism design, stochastic games, or evolutionary game theory)

Presentation of the various tools will draw upon empirical examples from various fields in the social sciences. The choice of specific examples will be tailored to the background of participants and to their research interests. The instructor is most familiar with examples from political science (international relations and comparative politics) but has also extensive knowledge of applications in the field of economics, business, and socio-psychology. The course will begin with an analysis of basic elements of a game. It will then cover a range of different game situations starting with games under perfect information followed by games under complete information. Repeated games as well as games with incomplete information (in particular signaling games) will then be addressed. Presentation of the various tools will draw upon empirical examples from various fields in the social sciences. The choice of specific examples will be tailored to the background of participants and to their research interests. The instructor is most familiar with examples from political science but has also extensive knowledge of applications in the field of economics, business, and socio-psychology.

Bibliography

As an introduction to conceptual issues in applying game theory, two short articles from the field of political science and a book by a major economist:

Four textbooks that will be used for the course:

Prerequisites

There are no prerequisites for this course but we expect students to have had some exposure to basic algebra (derivatives). Given the focus on applied game theory, students should have a research topic in mind before coming to the summer school. The idea is to help them use game theory to structure their research and help develop rigorous theoretical propositions.

 

[Workshops]