Game Theory and Public Policy, SECOND EDITION

Game Theory and Public Policy, SECOND EDITION

Roger A. McCain

This book provides a critical, selective review of concepts from game theory and their applications in public policy, and further suggests some modifications for some of the models (chiefly in cooperative game theory) to improve their applicability to economics and public policy.

Chapter 1: Objectives and scope of the book

Roger A. McCain

Subjects: economics and finance, game theory, politics and public policy, public policy

Extract

In recent years game theory has become more prominent as an aspect of research and applications in public policy disciplines such as economics, philosophy, management, and political science, and in work within public policy itself. One reason for this growing prominence may be understood from some comments of Thomas Schelling (1960) and Robert Aumann (for example, 2004). They have said that the subject matter of game theory would be better described as interactive decision theory. Schelling and Aumann shared the Nobel Memorial prize in 2005 for their work in game theory (Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences), and Aumann was the first president of the world Game Theory Society. Why then use the term “game theory” for a field that is not really about games? The game is to game theory as the experiment is to experimental science. After all, experimental science is not about experiments. It is about the natural world. Nevertheless experiments are a powerful aid to our understanding of the natural world. Similarly, when we conceive interactive decisions as games, we have a powerful aid to understanding them (and among other things, to the design of experiments).