The material covered in this course will equip you with tools to connect individual goal-oriented behavior with seemingly counter-intuitive social outcomes. Our journey will begin from an age-old challenge: how to coordinate the activities of free individuals, each seeking their own ends, so as to achieve socially desirable results? We will explore this issue using the language and tools of basic game theory. The framework that we will gradually build can be readily applied to the real-world issues which inspired many of you to take a course (or a major) in economics, including global economic development, inequality and environmental sustainability.

During the course, we will explore in depth the relation between conflict and coordination and think about questions of efficiency and distribution. The course will also help you deconstruct the role of power, communication and bargaining in economic interactions. All these ideas will be explored with a strong foundation in actual behavioral tendencies of people, thus going beyond the out-of-date assumption of pure self-interest. Our approach will make it clear that the insights of other disciplines – including history, sociology, law and anthropology – are an integral part of economics