Economic Games and Strategies

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General course information and requirements

Semester: Spring 2016
Course: Economics 332, Economic Games and Strategies, section 1 (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Economics 215 (Principles of Microeconomics), junior status, an overall GPA of at least 2.00 and a C- or better in HMXP 102.
Instructor: Dr. Stonebraker
Office: 401 Thurmond
Office phone: 323-2488
E-mail address:
Office hours:  M 3:30-5 pm, T 2-3 pm, W 1-2 pm, TR 2-4:30 pm and F 10 am-12 pm (no appointment needed)
                         Other times are available by appointment.

Course objective:

The course will provide an introduction to game theoretic analysis and its application to economics.  Students will develop the ability to use the basic tools of game theory to analyze strategic interactions between firms and individuals.


Games of Strategy, 3rd edition, by Avinash Dixit, Susan Skeath and David H. Reiley, Jr., W. W. Norton and Company, Inc., 2009. The course closely will follow both the structure and content of the text. I will assign appropriate end-of-the chapter questions and problems from the text.  These will not be turned in and/or graded, but will be useful in learning, in assessing your own understanding of the material, and doing well on the exams.  Note: A 4th edition recently was published, but we will use the older 3rd edition.
The grading will be straight letter grades: no plusses or minuses. Four exams will determine most of your grade. The exam with the lowest score will receive less weight than the other exams.  The weight for each assignment is:

Click here for a spreadsheet that will calculate your course average.


Four exams will be given (three midterms and a final). Exam questions will be based on the material presented in class and the assigned homework problems. You will be expected to write short essay/explanation answers and to solve a variety of numerical games. You only may use non-programmable calculators during exams. The final exam will include some specified review material and will be given at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 28.  The approximate grading scale will be:

        86 - 100%      A
        72 - 85%        B
        60 - 71%        C
        50 - 59%        D
          0 - 49%        F

Make-up policy:

Make-up exams will be given to students with what I judge to be a valid excuse. Needing more time to study is not a valid excuse. If you cannot make an exam I expect to be notified as quickly as possible, preferably before the exam. Students who do not notify me in a timely manner should not expect a make-up exam.

Cell phones and electronic devices:

I expect never to see cell phones in class. That means no texting and no checking messages; even under the desk where you think I will not see them.  Laptops, tablets or similar electronic devices may be used for note-taking or specified course activities with the instructorís permission. Students using these devices must turn off the wireless function and close all applications/windows other than the allowed document or application. Each time a student is caught violating this policy I will deduct one point from his/her final average.


There will be four short quizzes (typically one or maybe two problems) at pre-announced times.  The lowest score will be dropped and the remaining three will count as 3% of your grade each.  There will be no make-up quizzes.


The key to success in any problem-solving course is to practice solving problems.  I will assign a variety of such problems for your educational enjoyment.  Although I expect you to complete them, they will not be turned in and graded.  The best strategy is to work in small groups on a regular basis to complete the problems and then check the solutions.  To see the solutions to solved problems, click here. Since I do not collect or grade these assignments, some students may choose to ignore them or try them the night before the test. This is an excellent strategy for those hoping to receive a failing grade.

Attendance policy:

While I expect you to attend every class on time and will hold you responsible for all class material whether or not you attend, there are no attendance requirements.  However, based on past experience, there is a high probability that students who miss class frequently will have very low exam scores. I also expect you to come to class on time.  Students that consistently walk in late disrupt the learning environment and impose external costs on other students.

Course withdrawal:

Wednesday, March 9 is last day to withdraw from a full fall semester course.  (Automatic N grade is issued.)  Students may not withdraw from a course after this date without documented extenuating circumstances.


As a student you should expect me to take my class responsibilities seriously.  You should expect me to deliver quality instruction in each class, to start and end each class on time, to be responsive to student perspectives and questions, and to treat each of you with respect.  As an instructor, in addition to adherence to Winthropís Code of Student Conduct, I expect similarly responsible behavior from you.

Students with Disabilities:

Winthrop University is dedicated to providing access to education.  If you have a disability and need classroom accommodations, please contact the Office of Disability Services at 323-3290 as soon as possible.  Once you have your Professor Notification Form please tell me so that I am aware of your accommodations well before the first assignment.


Course Outline


I.   Introduction to Modern Game Theory
Chapters 1 and 2
II.  Basic Concepts and Techniques
A. Sequential move games
     Chapter 3
B. Simultaneous move games (discrete strategies)
     Chapter 4

Exam #1: Approximately Thursday, February 4

C. Simultaneous move games (continuous strategies)
     Chapter 5
D. Combining sequential and simultaneous moves
     Chapter 6
E. Mixed strategy games
     Chapter 7 and pp. 262-268 in chapter 8

Exam #2: Approximately Thursday, March 3
III.  Classes of Games and Strategies
A. Handling uncertainty
     Chapter 9 (omit section 5C on pp. 339-341)
B. Strategic moves
     Chapter 10

Exam #3: Approximately Tuesday, April 5

C. Repeated games
     Chapter 11 (omit section 5 on pp. 414-424)
D. Collective action games
     Chapter 12 (omit section 5 on pp. 482-486)
E. Evolutionary games (if you're lucky)
     Chapter 13 (omit section 5 on pp. 513-516, section 6E on pp. 519-521 and sections 7-9 on pp. 521-528)

 Final exam: 11:30 a.m., Thursday, April 28

I reserve the right to modify this syllabus with cause if unexpected circumstances occur.

Last modified 01/06/16