New Textbook for Game Theory and Behavioral Economics

Game Theory and Behavior is extremely readable. Carpenter and Robbett have a great set of examples (e.g. the poison drink dilemma from The Princess Bride). I think the book has been developed from teaching a course that resonates with undergraduates today. The authors are both experimental economists, so there is natural integration with lab results from experiments with games.

Topics covered include:

Game Theory and standard definitions

Solving Games

Sequential Games



Social Dilemmas


Behavioral Extensions of Standard Theory

In their words:

This book provides a clear and accessible formal introduction to standard game theory, while at the same time addressing how people actually behave in these games and demonstrating how the standard theory can be expanded or updated to better predict the behavior of real people. Our objective is to simultaneously provide students with both the theoretical tools to analyze situations through the logic of game theory and the intuition and behavioral insights to apply these tools to real world situations. The book was written to serve as the primary textbook in a first course in game theory at the undergraduate level and does not assume students have any previous exposure to game theory or economics. 

Not every book on game theory would be described as extremely readable. The authors do present mathematical concepts and solutions and practice problems. I want to be clear that I’m not implying that their book is not rigorous. They present game theory as primarily an intuitive and important framework for decisions instead of as primarily a mathematical object, which should go over well with most undergraduate students.

The following are questions that occurred to me as I was writing this post, with ChatGTP replies.

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