What Is Nash’s Game Theory?


Jane Flores

Nash’s game theory is a branch of mathematics that deals with the analysis of strategic interactions between multiple decision-makers. It was named after John Nash, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, who introduced this concept in his 1950 paper, “Equilibrium Points in N-Person Games.”

What is a game?

In Nash’s game theory, a game refers to any situation where two or more individuals or groups are involved in making decisions that affect each other’s outcomes. Games can be categorized as cooperative or non-cooperative, depending on whether participants work together or against each other.

What is Nash equilibrium?

Nash equilibrium is a central concept in Nash’s game theory. It refers to a state where no player can improve their outcome by changing their strategy unilaterally while others keep their strategies unchanged. In other words, it is a self-enforcing state where all players’ strategies are mutually optimal.


Consider two gas stations located across the street from each other. They both have to decide whether to lower their prices or keep them the same.

If one lowers its prices while the other does not, it will attract more customers and make more profits than its rival. However, if they both lower their prices, they will both lose profits due to price wars.

If both gas stations decide not to change their prices, they will maintain their current market share and profits. This state of affairs represents a Nash equilibrium because neither station can increase its profits by changing its strategy unilaterally.

Applications of Nash’s Game Theory

Nash’s game theory has applications in various fields such as economics, political science, psychology, and biology. It has been used to study market competition, voting behavior, international relations, and evolution.

  • In economics: Nash equilibrium has been used to analyze oligopoly markets, where a few firms dominate the market.
  • In political science: Nash’s game theory has been used to study voting behavior and the effects of electoral systems on political outcomes.
  • In psychology: It has been used to study human behavior in social situations and how individuals make decisions based on their perceptions of others’ actions.
  • In biology: Nash equilibrium has been used to study evolutionary dynamics, such as the evolution of cooperation among animals.


In conclusion, Nash’s game theory provides a powerful tool for analyzing strategic interactions between multiple decision-makers. It enables us to understand how individuals or groups make decisions and how they affect each other’s outcomes. By identifying Nash equilibria, we can predict the likely outcomes of various scenarios and design optimal strategies for achieving our goals.