GV4C8      Half Unit
Game Theory for Political Science

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Torun Dewan


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Political Science and Political Economy. This course is available on the MRes/PhD Political Science (Qualitative stream B), MRes/PhD Political Science (Quantitative stream A) and MSc in Public Administration and Government (LSE and Peking University). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Other postgraduates wanting to take the course require the permission of the teachers responsible.

Course content

Introduction to game theory for graduate students of political science
1. The ingredients of games. Static games of complete information. Normal form and extensive form representation. Dominant strategies. Iterated deletion of strictly dominated strategies. Nash equilibrium.Mixed strategies.
2. Dynamic games of complete information. Backward induction and subgame perfection. Sequential bargaining. Finitely and infinitely repeated games. The Folk theorem.
3. Bayes rule and rationality. Bayesian Nash equilibrium. Perfect Bayesian equilibrium.
4. Applications to Political Science.


18 hours of lectures and 8 hours of seminars in the MT. 4 hours of lectures and 2 hours of seminars in the ST.

Formative coursework

Weekly problem sets to be completed and discussed in class.

Indicative reading

The core text for the course is M J Osborne, An Introduction to Game Theory, Oxford University Press 2004


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.

Student performance results

(2009/10 - 2011/12 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 14.4
Merit 33.7
Pass 36.5
Fail 15.4

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2012/13: 27

Average class size 2012/13: 13

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Communication