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Seminar: Thinking Strategically: Psychology, Economics, and Experiments

Course code
Course type
BSc Course
Weekly Hours
FS 2024
Prof. Dr. Peter-J. Jost
Please note that exchange students obtain a higher number of credits in the BSc-program at WHU than listed here. For further information please contact directly the International Relations Office.
In game theory, a game is a multi-person decision making situation in which the outcomes depend on your action and on the actions of others. Players are the actors in these games. To classify the variety of games it is useful to consider the following two basic criteria:
  1. The degree of conflict: Whenever a group of individuals interacts in a particular situation, individual preferences of these group members may be in conflict. In the tennis game, for example, the players' interests are strictly opposed. When meeting a friend, on the other hand, there is no conflict of interest. In the first case, we speak of games of pure conflict, in the latter one about games of pure cooperation. Between them are games of mixed interests.
  2. The degree of behavioral uncertainty: According to this criterion, players can either be determined, unpredictable or ambiguous in their behaviour. An example for the first case arises in team games when team members have mutual interests. The tennis game is an example where players want to be unpredictable in their play. And players are ambiguous in their behaviour if there are several possible ways how they could optimally behave.

Given these two dimensions, we discuss the following classes of games in our course: Prisoners’ Dilemma Games, where interests are mixed and players’ behaviour is determined; Dis-coordination Games, where players don’t want to coordinate their behaviour so that unpredictability is important; Zero-sum Games, where interests are strictly opposite so that players either win all or lose everything; Battle-of-Sexes Games, where players have mixed interests and behaviour is ambiguous; and Coordination and Anti-coordination Games, where players have common interests for either getting together or stepping aside and their behaviour is ambiguous.

Date Time
Wednesday, 17.01.2024 11:30 - 15:15
Wednesday, 17.01.2024 11:30 - 15:15
Monday, 19.02.2024 11:30 - 15:15
Monday, 19.02.2024 11:30 - 15:15
Wednesday, 13.03.2024 11:30 - 15:15
Wednesday, 13.03.2024 11:30 - 15:15
Friday, 15.03.2024 11:30 - 15:15
Friday, 15.03.2024 11:30 - 15:15
Wednesday, 20.03.2024 11:30 - 15:15
Wednesday, 20.03.2024 11:30 - 15:15
Thursday, 21.03.2024 11:30 - 15:15
Thursday, 21.03.2024 11:30 - 15:15
By the end of the course, students will advance their knowledge in different ways:
  • Learning the basic principles of game theory will help you improve your own strategic thinking and your understanding why and how people make decisions
  • Learning to create value through team work will be useful for next group works and cases
  • Learning to apply game theoretical basics will serve as foundation for advanced courses
  • Learning to analyze and apply a theoretical paper will help you to relate theory to praxis
  • Learning a scientific method will be helpful for your bachelor and master thesis
  • Learning to speak in front of others will be useful for your university and business career
Dixit, A. and B. Nalebuff: Thinking Strategically, Norton 1991.Dutta, P. K.: Strategies and Games: Theory and Practice, MIT 1999Jost, P.-J. and U. Weitzel: Strategic Conflict Management. Cheltenham 2007.



  • Experiment: 35%
  • Presentation: 35%
  • In-class assignments: 30%
  • Class participation: Tiebreaker
Enrolling in this course requires (informal) prerequisites:
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