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ES50116: Strategic decision making & games

[Page last updated: 15 October 2020]

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2020/1
Further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: Department of Economics
Further information on credits Credits: 6      [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Further information on notional study hours Notional Study Hours: 120
Further information on unit levels Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Further information on teaching periods Period:
Semester 1
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Summary: CW 100%
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Detail:
  • Coursework 1 (CW 20%)
  • Coursework 2 (CW 80%)
Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Further information on requisites Requisites:
Description: Aims:
Game theory is a set of tools for studying situations in which decision-makers (like consumers, firms, politicians, and governments) interact. This unit provides an intuitive introduction game theory, with a strong emphasis on applications in economics. The aim of the course is to give students an understanding of the core concepts of game theory and how to use them to understand economic, social, and political phenomena.

Learning Outcomes:
This unit introduces students to the key ideas and techniques of game-theoretic analysis related to bargaining, conflict, and negotiation. A key learning outcome is for students to be able to recognise the key recurring structure underpinning many bargaining situations, and to analyse these situations using the game-theoretic toolkit presented in this unit. Upon successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:
1. Apply game-theoretic analysis and techniques, both formally and intuitively, to negotiation and bargaining situations.
2. Recognize and analyse the underlying strategic structures present in complicated negotiation settings.
3. Recognize and analyse situations of strategic interaction and the process of negotiation.

Problem solving, abstraction, modelling of real-world situations, recognising strategic situations.

1. Introduction: What are situations of strategic interaction, and what is game theory
2. Simultaneous Move Games
3. Dominant Strategies
4. Dynamic Games with complete but imperfect information
5. Bargaining
6. Auctions and competitive bidding
7. The War of Attrition
8. Mixed Strategies
9. Signalling Games
Indicative textbooks:
"Game Theory for Applied Economists" by Robert Gibbons, Princeton University Press 1992.
"The Art of Strategy: A Game Theorist's Guide to Success in Business and Life" by Avinash Dixit and Barry Nalebuff, W.W. Norton 2010.
"Game-Changer: Game Theory and the Art of Transforming Strategic Situations" by David McAdams, W.W. Norton 2015.
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

ES50116 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Economics


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2020/21 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2021/22 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2020/21.
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