Game Theory

Course Description

Academic degree: Bachelor's /Undergraduate/ degree*
Master degree
* No prior academic knowledge is important for understanding the subject but a "precocious" way of thinking                              

In our everyday life we often meet the problem how individual and collective interests are in conflict. For example, when we take a drive to a traffic jam in rush hours, and thus we cause a waste of time to the others than that of our own gain. When we decide how to behave, we take into account how other players behave, not only because we care about other people but because it affects what we get out of the interaction. Game theory is a systematic study of this strategic interaction. This course is an introduction to game theory, the study of strategic behaviour among parties having opposed, similar or mixed interests. It presents the basic concepts and analytical tools of elementary game theory in a way that allows the student to apply them in real life situations. Strategic interactions are present everywhere, in computer science, economics, politics, law, and at the end of the day we don’t make decisions in a vacuum, we live in society. The goal of the course is to give an insight into the formal ways of thinking about social mechanisms and interactions. At the end of the course 

There are no formal prerequisites for the course (we will apply a computer program for this purpose), but some aptitude for logical reasoning and basic maths are recommended.


 Below, I list the main topics to be covered during the semester. 

I. Game Theory as a method to explore social situations

II. Games and Decisions

III. How to Solve Games?

IV. Conflicts

V. Coordination Mechanisms

VI. Cooperative Games

VII. Negotiations

Educational Resources

József Zoltán Málik: Applied Game Theory. Part I: Methodology. Budapest: METU, 2022. (in pdf version)

József Zoltán Málik: Political Game Theory. Part II: Games and Society. Budapest: METU, 2022. (in pdf version)
Online Game Problem-Solver: click here.


1. Pick up an arbitrary historical, economic, legal, or political issue.  First, describe the case, and then formalize the situation as a well-defined game, and investigate it from a strategic point of view. 
I collected examples of this in "pgt_case_studies.pdf"
2. As a multi-player game theory model, present Schelling's model. Two articles by which you can present your own case study:
First: Chapter 5,  Tim Harford: The Logic of Life
Second: https://www.jasss.org/15/1/6.html   (only the sessions 1.1-1.14)
3. Game theory and crisis communication based on the article (https://www.finn.agency/its-time-revisit-game-theory-tool-crisis-preparedness-and-crisis-communication-longread/ )
Game theory and Law based on the book Robert Cooter and Thomas Ulen: Law and Economics.
  • Property Rights in terms of Game Theory (Chapter 4) 
  • Bargaining With the State (p. 78-80; 189-193) 
5. Rational Choice in Everyday Life (A chosen topic from the book Tim Harford: The Logic of Life.)
Use concrete examples from current news to explain and illustrate zero-sum games and interest-based negotiations and to apply their main principles.

Recommended sources:
7. The theory of International Politics and Games
Recommended source: Link
8. Experimental Game Theory (any social or lab experiments based on game theory):
Recommended sources:

This course is a part of the ERASMUS+ Program at Faculty of Law,
Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest

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