This paper, originally written as a pedagogical note for a RAND Graduate School course, introduces the concepts and tools of game theory in the context of microeconomics. The author defines normal and extensive forms of a game, and pure and mixed strategies. For games of opposed interests, the basic concepts of maxmin and equilibrium strategies are defined and illustrated. Moving to general noncooperative games, the concepts of Stackelberg equilibrium and disequilibrium are presented in a duopoly game, and two logically consistent foundations for the competitive solution are given. The credibility of threats is discussed, and perfect equilibrium defined. Finally, the author discusses agreements, defining self-enforcing agreements, discussing institutional arrangements that facilitate cooperation, and concluding with a description of cooperation in repeated games.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.
Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.