Introduction to Game Theory

This se­quence of posts is a primer on game the­ory in­tended at an in­tro­duc­tory level. Be­cause it is in­tro­duc­tory, Less Wrong vet­er­ans may find some parts bor­ing, ob­vi­ous, or sim­plis­tic—al­though hope­fully noth­ing is so sim­plis­tic as to be out­right wrong.

Parts of this se­quence draw heav­ily upon ma­te­rial from The Art of Strat­egy by Av­inash Dixit and Barry Nale­buff, and it may in part be con­sid­ered a (very fa­vor­able) re­view of the book ac­com­panied by an ex­plo­ra­tion of its con­tent. I have tried to in­clude enough ma­te­rial to be use­ful, but not so much ma­te­rial that it be­comes a pla­gia­rism rather than a re­view (it’s prob­a­bly a bad idea to pick a le­gal fight with peo­ple who write books called The Art of Strat­egy.) There­fore, for the most com­plete and en­gag­ing pre­sen­ta­tion of this ma­te­rial, I highly recom­mend the origi­nal book.

Spe­cial thanks to Luke for his book recom­men­da­tion and his strong en­courage­ment to write this.

Back­ward Rea­son­ing Over De­ci­sion Trees

Nash Equil­ibria and Schel­ling Points

In­tro­duc­tion to Pri­son­ers’ Dilemma

Real World Solu­tions to Pri­son­ers’ Dilemmas

In­ter­lude for Be­hav­ioral Economics

What Is Sig­nal­ing, Really?

Bar­gain­ing and Auctions

Im­perfect Vot­ing Systems

Game The­ory As A Dark Art