Game Theory

Featured

The study of mathematical models of conflict and cooperation between intelligent, rational decisionmakers, game theory is also known more descriptively as interactive decision theory. For more than seven decades, RAND researchers have used game theory to explore economics, political science, psychology, and conflict.

  • chess board

    Commercial Book

    A Primer on the Theory of Games of Strategy

    Dec 1, 1954

    This 1954 classic on basic concepts of game theory and its applications popularized the subject for amateurs, professionals, and students throughout the world.

  • People wait in line in a Disneyland parking lot to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at a mass vaccination site in Anaheim, California, January 13, 2021, photo by Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

    Commentary

    How Game Theory Could Solve the COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Puzzle

    Mar 11, 2021

    The health systems behind the vaccine rollout are attempting to create order from chaos, sometimes with mixed results. Rather than relying on on-the-fly decisionmaking, state authorities should consider turning to game theory as a tool that could be the key to more efficient, faster vaccine distribution.

Explore Game Theory

  • Blog

    Insights on Afghanistan, Back to School, North Korea: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the collapse in Afghanistan, what parents think about sending kids back to school, insights from game theory on North Korean denuclearization, and more.

    Aug 20, 2021

  • North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un speaks at a plenary meeting of 8th central committee of the Workers' Party of Korea in this still image taken from KRT footage on June 16, 2021, photo by KRT TV/Reuters

    Report

    Engaging with North Korea: Lessons from Game Theory

    Applying game theory to the situation in North Korea may provide insights into how the United States can deal with Kim Jong-un and carry out negotiations on denuclearization.

    Aug 12, 2021

  • Game Theory: A Tool for the Vaccine Campaign

    Multimedia

    Game Theory: A Tool for the Vaccine Campaign

    RAND operations researcher Luke Muggy discusses ways in which game theory could support the COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

    Jun 14, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    On Balanced Games Without Side Payments: A Correction

    The purpose of this paper is to repair Lemma 6.3 appearing in the author's previous paper of the same title (P-4910, September 1972).

    May 1, 2021

  • Blog

    Game Theory to Help the Vaccine Rollout, Abraham Accords, Telehealth: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how game theory can help the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, potential economic benefits of the Abraham Accords, telemedicine use during the pandemic, and more.

    Mar 19, 2021

  • Red and blue profiles with thinking gears in their heads, illustration by JakeOlimb/Getty Images

    Report

    How to Avoid Aggression or Escalation in a Crisis

    Anticipating how an opponent may be reasoning, and then seeking ways to alter that thinking can inform an effective influence strategy. Deterring adversaries by threat of punishment alone is often ineffective. A better approach might involve a mix of several measures, such as being able to thwart aggression, reassurances to reduce the adversary's fears, and relationship-building.

    Feb 16, 2021

  • RAND researcher Anna Elizabeth 'Nancy' Nimitz, September 1, 1958

    Content

    A Brief History of RAND

    RAND was incorporated as a nonprofit corporation in 1948. From its early years to the present, RAND research is characterized by its objectivity and nonpartisanship, its quality and scientific rigor, and its dedication to improving policymaking on the most pressing issues of the day.

    Aug 3, 2018

  • Wargaming at the Naval Postgraduate School

    Commentary

    Adding Shots on Target: Wargaming Beyond the Game

    Figuring out what the future may look like—and what concepts and technology we should invest in now to prepare—is hard. How can the wargaming community build a cycle of research to help understand what these paths might be?

    Oct 9, 2017

  • Dice representing flags of United States, China, and Russia on a world map

    Multimedia

    Gaming Solutions to Global Problems

    In this Call with the Experts, David Shlapak, a senior international research analyst at RAND, talks about how serious games can help find solutions to global problems.

    Jun 8, 2017

  • 360-degree gaming cone uses multiple perspectives, illustration by Ryan Henry/RAND Corporation

    Report

    Serious Analytical Gaming: The 360° Game for Multidimensional Analysis of Complex Problems

    This report is intended to help decisionmakers who would like to design and run a 360° Game, which can be used in multidimensional analysis of complex problems and allows participants to investigate a problem from a variety of perspectives.

    May 30, 2017

  • Researchers demonstrating a gaming exercise for board members in Santa Monica, 1966

    Multimedia

    The Serious Role of Gaming at RAND

    RAND uses gaming techniques to develop insights into a host of 21st century challenges. In this Events @ RAND podcast, David Shlapak, founding codirector of the RAND Center for Gaming, discusses the strengths, weaknesses, and limitations of using gaming in research.

    Mar 23, 2017

  • Thomas Schelling (left) receives the Nobel Prize in economics from Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf in Stockholm, December 10, 2005

    Announcement

    Thomas Schelling, Nobel Laureate and Longtime RAND Consultant, Dies at 95

    Thomas Schelling, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and longtime RAND consultant whose ideas about conflict and cooperation helped guide American policymakers during the Cold War and beyond, has died.

    Dec 14, 2016

  • Globe on a chessboard

    Commentary

    How Can Gaming Help Test Your Theory?

    The act of designing a game will force you to articulate your theory or to be more specific about it. It will also require you to operationalize your variables and theoretical constructs of interest into a specific context, and prompt you to anticipate the ways in which it may play out in that scenario.

    May 18, 2016

  • Lloyd Shapley in a RAND photograph taken in the 1970s

    Announcement

    Lloyd S. Shapley, Nobel Laureate in Economics, Dies at 92

    Lloyd S. Shapley, a longtime RAND Corporation researcher and UCLA professor who was a leading expert in the study of strategic decisionmaking called “game theory,” sharing the Nobel Prize in economics for his work on the subject, died Saturday.

    Mar 14, 2016

  • Florida,Tampa,USA,burner,catalyst,catalytic,chemical,chimney,complex,corporate,corporation,distill,ecology,kyoto,emission,energy,engine,environment,environmental,day,light,factory,fuel,fume,gas,gasoline,global,heavy,industrial,industry,landscape,manufacturing,metal,oil,petrochemical,petroleum,plant,supply,electricity,power,process,production,refinery,florida,tampa,site,sky,smog,smoke,station,steam,structure,technology,vapor,pollution,exhaust,toxic,climate,thermal,white,blue,Florida,Tampa,USA,burner,catalyst,catalytic,chemical,chimney,complex,corporate,corporation,distill,ecology,kyoto,emission,energy,engine,environment,environmental,day,light,factory,fuel,fume,gas,gasoline,global,heavy,industrial,industry,landscape,manufacturing,metal,oil,petrochemical,petroleum,plant,supply,electricity,power,process,production,refinery,florida,tampa,site,sky,smog,smoke,station,steam,structure,technology,vapor,pollution,exhaust,toxic,climate,thermal,white,blue

    Journal Article

    The Effect of Near-Term Policy Choices on Long-Term Greenhouse Gas Transformation Pathways

    This paper introduces a new agent-based, game theoretic model designed to compare how near-term choices regarding alternative policy architectures influence long-term emission reduction trajectories.

    Nov 23, 2015

  • Nobel Prize winner John Forbes Nash at the 74th Annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles, March 24, 2002

    Announcement

    Statement About John Forbes Nash, Jr.

    RAND notes with regret the death of John Nash, a consultant at RAND from 1950 to 1954 who was awarded the 1994 Nobel Prize for Economics for his landmark work, first begun in the 1950s, on the mathematics of game theory.

    May 24, 2015

  • Illustration of a game show with three players and a host, image by Olga Kurbatova/Getty Images

    Blog

    Test Your RAND Knowledge on Jeopardy!

    RAND was once a category on the long-running TV game show Jeopardy! How much money could you have won? Take the quiz and find out.

    May 5, 2015

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Assessing the Validity of Using Serious Game Technology to Analyze Physician Decision Making

    Physician non-compliance with clinical practice guidelines remains a critical barrier to high quality care.

    Aug 1, 2014

  • Electric power plant

    Report

    Modeling Industry Transformation and the Political Sustainability of Emission Control Policies

    Limiting climate change will require transformation of energy and other systems. A new model that uses Robust Decision Making tools enables decisionmakers to compare the long-term sustainability of alternative carbon emission reduction policies.

    Sep 6, 2013