Individuals, firms, governments and nations behave strategically, for good and bad. Over the last few decades, game theory has been constructed and progressively refined to become the major tool used by social scientists to understand, predict and regulate strategic interaction among agents who often have conflicting interests. In the surprisingly anodyne jargon of the theory, they ‘play games’. This book offers an introduction to the basic tools of game theory and an overview of a number of applications to real-world cases, covering the areas of economics, politics and international relations. Each chapter is accompanied by some suggestions about further reading.

chapter 1|10 pages

The origins: a bit of history

chapter 2|10 pages

What is a game?

chapter 3|26 pages

Solving a game

chapter 4|22 pages

Understanding economics

chapter 5|16 pages

Repeated games and collusive behaviour

chapter 6|12 pages

Understanding politics

chapter 7|16 pages


chapter 8|16 pages

Trade, security and hegemony

chapter 9|20 pages

The role of information

chapter 10|16 pages

Bargaining and cooperation