We discuss auctions. We first distinguish two extremes: common values and private values. We hold a common value auction in class and discover the winner's curse, the winner tends to overpay. We discuss why this occurs and how to avoid it: you should bid as if you knew that your bid would win; that is, as if you knew your initial estimate of the common value was the highest. This leads you to bid much below your initial estimate. Then we discuss four forms of auction: first-price sealed-bid, second-price sealed-bid, open ascending, and open descending auctions. We discuss bidding strategies …

**Tags:**higher education, dilemma, theory, strategy, game, dominated, polak, induction, equilibrium, imperfect, asymmetric, courses, yale, nash, economics, mixed, strategies, backward, open, social science, subgame, prisoners, competition, stability, evolutionary, ben, education, perfect, information

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We look at two settings with asymmetric information; one side of a game knows something that the other side does not. We should always interpret attempts to communicate or signal such information taking into account the incentives of the person doing the signaling. In the first setting, information is verifiable. …

In business or personal relationships, promises and threats of good and bad behavior tomorrow may provide good incentives for good behavior today, but, to work, these promises and threats must be credible. In particular, they must come from equilibrium behavior tomorrow, and hence form part of a subgame perfect equilibrium …

We discuss repeated games, aiming to unpack the intuition that the promise of rewards and the threat of punishment in the future of a relationship can provide incentives for good behavior today. In class, we play prisoners' dilemma twice and three times, but this fails to sustain cooperation. The problem …

We first play and then analyze wars of attrition; the games that afflict trench warfare, strikes, and businesses in some competitive settings. We find long and damaging fights can occur in class in these games even when the prizes are small in relation to the accumulated costs. These could be …

We analyze three games using our new solution concept, subgame perfect equilibrium (SPE). The first game involves players' trusting that others will not make mistakes. It has three Nash equilibria but only one is consistent with backward induction. We show the other two Nash equilibria are not subgame perfect: each …

We consider games that have both simultaneous and sequential components, combining ideas from before and after the midterm. We represent what a player does not know within a game using an information set: a collection of nodes among which the player cannot distinguish. This lets us define games of imperfect …

We develop a simple model of bargaining, starting from an ultimatum game (one person makes the other a take it or leave it offer), and building up to alternating offer bargaining (where players can make counter-offers). On the way, we introduce discounting: a dollar tomorrow is worth less than a …

In the first half of the lecture, we consider the chain-store paradox. We discuss how to build the idea of reputation into game theory; in particular, in setting like this where a threat or promise would otherwise not be credible. The key idea is that players may not be completely …

We first discuss Zermelo's theorem: that games like tic-tac-toe or chess have a solution. That is, either there is a way for player 1 to force a win, or there is a way for player 1 to force a tie, or there is a way for player 2 to force …

We first apply our big idea – backward induction – to analyze quantity competition between firms when play is sequential, the Stackelberg model. We do this twice: first using intuition and then using calculus. We learn that this game has a first-mover advantage, and that it comes commitment and from …

We consider games in which players move sequentially rather than simultaneously, starting with a game involving a borrower and a lender. We analyze the game using "backward induction." The game features moral hazard: the borrower will not repay a large loan. We discuss possible remedies for this kind of problem. …

We apply the idea of evolutionary stability to consider the evolution of social conventions. Then we consider games that involve aggressive (Hawk) and passive (Dove) strategies, finding that sometimes, evolutionary populations are mixed. We discuss how such games can help us to predict how behavior might vary across settings. Finally, …

We discuss evolution and game theory, and introduce the concept of evolutionary stability. We ask what kinds of strategies are evolutionarily stable, and how this idea from biology relates to concepts from economics like domination and Nash equilibrium. The informal argument relating these ideas toward at the end of his …

We develop three different interpretations of mixed strategies in various contexts: sport, anti-terrorism strategy, dating, paying taxes and auditing taxpayers. One interpretation is that people literally randomize over their choices. Another is that your mixed strategy represents my belief about what you might do. A third is that the mixed …

We continue our discussion of mixed strategies. First we discuss the payoff to a mixed strategy, pointing out that it must be a weighed average of the payoffs to the pure strategies used in the mix. We note a consequence of this: if a mixed strategy is a best response, …

We first complete our discussion of the candidate-voter model showing, in particular, that, in equilibrium, two candidates cannot be too far apart. Then we play and analyze Schelling's location game. We discuss how segregation can occur in society even if no one desires it. We also learn that seemingly irrelevant …

We apply the notion of Nash Equilibrium, first, to some more coordination games; in particular, the Battle of the Sexes. Then we analyze the classic Cournot model of imperfect competition between firms. We consider the difficulties in colluding in such settings, and we discuss the welfare consequences of the Cournot …

We first consider the alternative "Bertrand" model of imperfect competition between two firms in which the firms set prices rather than setting quantities. Then we consider a richer model in which firms still set prices but in which the goods they produce are not identical. We model the firms as …

We first define formally the new concept from last time: Nash equilibrium. Then we discuss why we might be interested in Nash equilibrium and how we might find Nash equilibrium in various games. As an example, we play a class investment game to illustrate that there can be many equilibria …