What Is Game Theory Economics a Level?


Martha Robinson

Game theory is a branch of economics that studies the behavior of individuals and firms in strategic situations. It is used to analyze decision-making and strategic interactions among economic agents.

History of Game Theory Economics:

Game theory economics was first developed in the 1940s by mathematicians such as John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern. They were interested in studying strategic decision-making, particularly in military conflicts. Over time, game theory has been applied to many other fields, including economics.

Key Concepts in Game Theory Economics:

The key concepts in game theory economics are players, strategies, and payoffs. Players are the individuals or firms involved in the game.

Strategies are the actions that players can take, based on their beliefs about what other players will do. Payoffs are the outcomes that result from the players’ actions.

Game theory economics also deals with different types of games, such as zero-sum games and non-zero-sum games. In zero-sum games, one player’s gain is always another player’s loss. In non-zero-sum games, there can be gains for both players.

Applications of Game Theory Economics:

Game theory economics has been used to analyze a wide range of economic problems. For example, it can be used to understand how firms make pricing decisions or how countries negotiate trade agreements.

One well-known application of game theory is the prisoner’s dilemma. In this scenario, two criminals are arrested and held separately. Each one is given the option to either confess or remain silent about their involvement in a crime.

If both confess, they both receive a harsh sentence. If both remain silent, they both receive a lighter sentence. However, if one confesses and the other remains silent, the one who confesses receives no sentence while the other receives a harsh sentence.

This scenario shows how individual rationality (confessing) can lead to a collectively worse outcome (both receiving a harsh sentence). Game theory can help to analyze such situations and provide insights into how to achieve better outcomes.


In conclusion, game theory economics is a powerful tool for understanding strategic decision-making in economics. It provides a framework for analyzing different types of games and their outcomes. By studying game theory, economists can gain insights into how individuals and firms make decisions and how these decisions can be influenced to achieve better outcomes.