Formal Political Theory I

Harvard University, 2017 - 2018

Game theory is widely used in political science to analyze strategic interactions in different settings. Each subfield - to a varying degree - has seen game-theoretic concepts enter its vocabulary, and students entering the profession need to grasp the potential and limits of game theory. This course is the first in a two-course sequence in game theory. Students will learn the basic concepts of game-theoretic modeling and how to solve most types of games used in applied work in political science or related disciplines. The main aim is to prepare students to be good “consumers” of game-theoretic work in the substantive areas they work on, with the secondary goal of preparing them to think about writing their own models. In particular, students will leave the course with a working knowledge of games of complete information, to the point where they can write down a (simple) model, solve it, and state some of the model’s empirical implications. Students will also have an introductory knowledge of games of incomplete information.


Lecture 1
Lecture 2
Lecture 3
Lecture 4
Lecture 5-6
Lecture 7
Lecture 8-9
Lecture 10
Lecture 11
Lecture 12
Lecture 13