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Programme & Unit Catalogues

ES50116: Strategic decision making & games

[Page last updated: 02 August 2022]

Academic Year: 2022/23
Owning Department/School: Department of Economics
Credits: 6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 120
Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Semester 1
Assessment Summary: CW 30%, EX 70%
Assessment Detail:
  • Coursework (CW 30%)
  • Exam (EX 70%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
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.

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.

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

Content: 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.

Programme availability:

ES50116 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Economics


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2022/23 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2023/24 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2022/23.
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