Introduction to Game Theory

Prof David Wiens | Spring 2017 | UC San Diego

This course is a rigorous introduction to the basic concepts and logic of noncooperative game theory. We will focus on modeling issues and solution concepts. Some familiarity with first-order logic and basic set theory is expected (see below). The course requirements will not assume mathematical proficiency beyond basic algebra (and maybe some differential calculus).

Time and location to be determined.


We will cover the following topics:

1. (Expected) Utility theory (Tadelis, part 1)
2. Model basics (Tadelis, chs. 3, 6 & 7; Watson, chs. 1-5)
3. Complete information games
  3a. Static (Tadelis, chs. 4-6)
  3b. Dynamic (Tadelis, chs. 8-11)
4. Incomplete information games
  4a. Static (Tadelis, ch. 12)
  4b. Dynamic (Tadelis, chs. 15-17)


Students should get a copy of Velleman's How To Prove It. Students will be responsible for the material in the first three chapters (at least).

Lecutres generally follow Tadelis's Game Theory, which is available at the UCSD bookstore. Lectures will also draw on Joel Watson's Strategy.

Whether you grasp the salient intuitions behind a concept often depends on how the concept is presented to you. So it is worth checking out other texts for the sake of comparison. Here are some that I've found helpful.

1. Fudenberg and Tirole, Game Theory (a comprehensive, technically demanding text; any serious game theory student should own this).
2. Gibbons, Game Theory for Applied Economists
3. Gintis, Game Theory Evolving
4. McCarty and Meirowitz, Political Game Theory
5. Rasmusen, Games and Information
6. Williams, Introduction to Game Theory: A Behavioral Approach


Several problems sets will be distributed during the term.

There will be a midterm exam on topics through complete information games and a final exam on incomplete information games