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Instructor: Martin J. Osborne

This module of PhD micro is designed (a) to equip students who do not intend to pursue research in economic theory with the main game-theoretic tools used in contemporary economics, and (b) to provide students who plan to pursue research in economic theory a solid grounding in game theory.

The text is

Martin J. Osborne and Ariel Rubinstein, A course in game theory (MIT Press, 1994)
(The website for the book has a list of typos and other information you may find useful.)

If you have no background in game theory, you may also find useful my book An introduction to game theory (Oxford University Press, New York, 2004).

The course covers the following topics.

  • Nash equilibrium (Ch. 2 through 2.5)
  • Mixed strategy equilibrium (Ch. 3 through 3.3)
  • Bayesian games (2.6)
  • Extensive games with perfect information (Ch. 6)
  • Bargaining games (Chs. 7 and 15)
  • Repeated games (Ch. 8)

Problem sets

The only way to learn analytical material is to do problems! I will assign a Problem Set after each class. Each Problem Set will be due at the start of the next Tuesday class. (Thus two Problem Sets will be due every Tuesday except October 23, one from the previous Tuesday and one from the previous Thursday.) Your solutions to each Problem Set will be assigned a grade of 0, 1 or 2. Discussing the problems with others is encouraged, but the work you submit must be entirely your own. (In particular, copying answers from another person's solutions is not acceptable.)

It is essential that you keep up with the Problem Sets, so late submissions will not be accepted. I will make solutions to each Problem Set available after the class in which it is due.


The tutorials are an integral part of the course. In each tutorial, the TA will help you to solve a small number of problems. He will not tell you the solutions, but will lead you to construct solutions yourselves. You should be ready to participate actively. I will post a file of the questions for each tutorial by noon of the previous day; please take a copy (either paper or electronic) to the tutorial. After each tutorial, I will post solutions.