What Is Game Theory and Economics?


Vincent White

Game theory and economics are two distinct fields that have a significant influence on the decision-making process in various areas. Game theory is a branch of mathematics that revolves around the study of strategic decision-making, while economics deals with the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. Together, these two disciplines provide a robust framework for understanding human behavior in economic situations.

What is Game Theory?

Game theory studies strategic interactions between individuals or groups where the outcome of each person’s decision depends on the decisions made by others. In simpler terms, it’s about making smart choices when interacting with others who have their own goals and preferences.

Games can be divided into two categories: cooperative and non-cooperative games. In cooperative games, players work together to achieve a common goal. In contrast, non-cooperative games involve competition between players with conflicting interests.

One of the most famous examples of game theory is the Prisoner’s Dilemma. This game involves two prisoners who are arrested and placed in separate cells.

Each prisoner must decide whether to confess to a crime or remain silent. The outcome of each prisoner’s decision depends on what the other prisoner chooses to do.

What is Economics?

Economics is a social science that examines how societies allocate resources among different uses. It aims to answer questions like “what goods and services should be produced?” and “how should they be produced?”

In economics, there are two main types of actors: individuals and firms. Individuals are consumers who make decisions about what goods and services to purchase based on their preferences and budget constraints. Firms are producers who make decisions about what goods and services to produce based on their costs and revenue expectations.

Economists use models to understand how these actors interact in markets to determine prices and quantities of goods exchanged.

How Game Theory Applies to Economics

Game theory can help economists understand how individuals and firms make decisions in different economic situations. For example, game theory can be used to analyze oligopoly markets where a small number of firms dominate the industry. In this case, each firm’s profit depends on the behavior of its competitors.

Game theory can also be used to study auctions and bargaining situations where buyers and sellers interact to determine prices. By modeling these interactions as games, economists can gain insights into how participants will behave under different conditions.


In conclusion, game theory and economics are two important fields that provide a framework for understanding human behavior in economic situations. Game theory helps us understand strategic decision-making between individuals or groups, while economics examines how societies allocate resources among different uses.

By combining these two disciplines, we can gain valuable insights into how people make decisions in various economic situations. Whether it’s analyzing markets or studying individual behavior, game theory and economics have proven to be powerful tools for understanding the economy.