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Learn game theory with online courses and programs

How can two opposing actors reach a mutually beneficial outcome? Learn game theory with online courses delivered through edX.
Game Theory | Introduction Image Description

What is game theory?

Game theory is a branch of mathematics and economics that studies how rational actors make decisions when their choices impact each other’s outcomes. It provides a framework for understanding and analyzing strategic interactions where the decisions of one participant are influenced by the decisions of others.

One well-known game theory experiment is the “prisoners’ dilemma.” Two prisoners are placed in separate interrogation rooms and given the following options:

  • If both prisoners remain silent, they both serve a short sentence for a lesser crime.

  • If both prisoners confess, they both serve a moderate sentence.

  • If one prisoner confesses while the other remains silent, the one who confessed goes free, and the one who remained silent serves a long sentence.

This experiment illustrates the tension between individual self-interest and the collective interest. It is frequently used to explain and analyze cooperation and competition in various real-world situations, such as business negotiations, international relations, and environmental agreements.

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Game theory course curriculum

Game theory courses can cover mathematical models, economic theory, competitive strategy, and behavioral analysis. They will introduce the basic concepts of game theory, such as players, strategies, payoffs, and games themselves. Learners may examine different kinds of games and strategies, such as zero-sum games (where one player’s gain is another’s loss), or more complex games that can involve scenarios with sequential decision-making, for example.

You may also have the chance to explore the real-world applications of game theory. Learn how it’s used in economics to understand oligopoly (where a few large companies dominate the market) or auction theory, which studies the design and behavior of competitive bidding. Game theory can be applied to everything from voting to negotiation strategies to evolution. 

Learning about game theory can supplement your knowledge of economics or risk management. edX offers a variety of educational opportunities for learners interested in studying these topics, as well as a host of other disciplines. A boot camp can provide flexible hands-on learning for those who want to upskill quickly, while executive education courses are designed for busy professionals. You can also pursue a more comprehensive curriculum in a bachelor’s degree program or, for more advanced learners, a master’s degree program. Find the right learning path for you.

Explore game theory jobs

Studying game theory can open up career opportunities in fields where strategic decision-making and analytical skills are highly valued. Some of these roles can include:

  • Economist: Analyzes market behavior, competition, and strategic interactions.

  • Management consultant: Helps businesses optimize strategies, make pricing decisions, and navigate competitive markets.

  • Data scientist: Models and analyzes data for companies, helping them make informed decisions in areas like pricing, marketing, and operations.

  • Financial or quantitative analyst: Assesses risk, makes investment decisions, and develops models to inform trading strategies.

  • Policy analyst: Studies and informs public policy decisions in areas like healthcare, transportation, and environmental policy.

  • Market researcher: Understands consumer behavior and competitive dynamics, assisting businesses in making informed marketing and product development decisions.

Are you ready to grow your knowledge in this field? Start building the professional skills you need with courses offered through edX.