Who Is Associated With Game Theory of International Politics?


Jane Flores

Game theory is a crucial tool in the field of international politics. It allows us to analyze and understand the behavior of states, as well as predict their future actions.

But who are the key players associated with game theory in international politics? Let’s take a closer look.

John Nash

John Nash, a Nobel Prize-winning mathematician, is often considered the father of game theory. His work on non-cooperative games provided a framework for analyzing strategic interactions between individuals or groups. He introduced the concept of Nash equilibrium, which is a situation where no player can benefit by changing their strategy unilaterally.

Nash’s work had a significant impact on political science, economics, and other social sciences. His ideas have been applied to various fields ranging from arms control to environmental policy.

Robert Axelrod

Another prominent figure associated with game theory in international politics is Robert Axelrod. He is known for his research on cooperation and conflict in international relations. Axelrod’s book, “The Evolution of Cooperation,” explores how cooperation can emerge even among self-interested actors.

Axelrod also conducted an influential tournament that invited experts to submit strategies for playing the iterated prisoner’s dilemma game – a classic example of a non-zero-sum game where two players can either cooperate or defect. The tournament showed that simple strategies like “tit-for-tat” could outperform more complex ones.

Thomas Schelling

Thomas Schelling, another Nobel Prize-winning economist, made significant contributions to game theory in international politics through his work on bargaining and conflict resolution. Schelling introduced the concept of focal points – solutions that are likely to be chosen by players because they are easy to coordinate around.

Schelling also applied game theory to nuclear strategy during the Cold War era. His ideas helped shape arms control negotiations and promote stability in international relations.


These are just a few of the many scholars associated with game theory in international politics. Their contributions have helped us better understand the strategic behavior of states and design effective policies for managing conflicts and promoting cooperation. By studying their work, we can continue to refine our understanding of international politics and make progress towards a more peaceful world.

  • John Nash: Father of game theory, introduced the concept of Nash equilibrium.
  • Robert Axelrod: Studied cooperation and conflict in international relations, conducted influential tournament on iterated prisoner’s dilemma game.
  • Thomas Schelling: Contributed to bargaining and conflict resolution, introduced the concept of focal points.


  • “A Beautiful Mind” by Sylvia Nasar
  • “The Evolution of Cooperation” by Robert Axelrod
  • “Arms and Influence” by Thomas Schelling