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tendencies of people, thus going beyond the out-of-date assumption of pure self-interest.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