PEGC Nordic Doctoral Network Course: 'Game Theory in the Service of Public Policy and Conflict Resolution'

Course Directors: Scott Gates (PRIO/NTNU) & Katri Sieberg (SUNY Binghamton)

Please note: This page refers to an event that has already taken place.

Time: Mon 12 (11:30) - Fri 16 (15:00) June 2006
Place: Course Directors: Scott Gates (PRIO/NTNU) & Katri Sieberg (SUNY Binghamton)

Lectures and discussion are scheduled for Monday 12 June through lunch on Thursday 15 June. On Thursday afternoon and on Friday 16 June there will be workshops discussing the student projects. The course is organized by the Department of Political Science, University of Turku for the Nordic Network on the Political Economy of Governance and Conflict (PEGC).

This course combines contributions from economics, political science, and peace and conflict research. The course is part of a larger effort to raise the level of research training - at the doctoral level and beyond - in the social sciences in the Nordic countries in our field of competence. As with previous PEGC courses, attracting female students to the course will have a high priority. Participants will be selected on a competitive basis. The competence of the student and the relevance of the dissertation proposal and a commitment to complete the course by writing a course paper will be key criteria.

Send you application by e-mail, complete with a CV and cost estimate, to professor Hannu Nurmi ( and with a copy to the PEGC network secretary Andrew Feltham ( Deadline for applications is 27th April 2006.

Regarding other inquiries or practical matters please send e-mail to our contact person Ms. Maria Suojanen (

Travel and Accommodation Costs:
The course is arranged by the Nordic Network PEGC. There is no course fee. All the courses are open to students from all European Countries, but PEGC funding is restricted to students from the Nordic countries, the Baltic countries and North-west Russia. The PEGC funded students will receive a grant of 300 EUR. Additional travel costs (for the PEGC funded students) are covered within the limits of the total course funding. For more information see the PEGC network webpages.

A small amount of low-cost housing is available on the first-come-first-served basis. For relatively inexpensive hotel accommodation, see for example Unihostel or Hotel Centro or Hotel Tapulitalo. For other accommodation possibilities see here.

Katri K. Sieberg, co-organizer, Assistant Professor of Political Science, SUNY Binghamton
Scott Gates, co-organizer, Professor, PRIO & Norwegian University of Science & Technology
Will Heller, Assistant Professor of Political Science, SUNY Binghamton
Timo Tammi, Lecturer and Head of Economics Department, Joensuu University
Leif Helland, Doc. Pol. Sci., Department of Political Science, University of Oslo
Jean-Pierre Benoit, Professor of Law and Economics, New York University

The objectives:
Even the most fanatic supporter of game theory is ready to admit that the success of the theory is somewhat less than spectacular when it comes to predicting social, economic or political phenomena. This is bound to inspire critiques to argue that the theory is practically useless insofar as predictive success is a primary criterion of scientific value of a theory. Yet, the record of game theory in understanding phenomena ex post is considerably better. Identifying actors, their strategy sets, beliefs and sources of information is often a natural way of accounting for behavior and, consequently, phenomena, structures and even institutions. This course aims at charting the uneven terrain of applications of game theory: from the peaks of success to valleys of failure. Why does the theory help us in some circumstances and why does it fail in others? What kind of help is it in general capable of providing to a scholar working on empirical problems? These issues will be dealt with in the light of applications in different fields of economics, political science and sociology.

1. Game theoretic analysis of criminal policy (Sieberg)
2. Institutional analysis (Heller)
3. Experimental analysis of game theory (Tammi)
4. Applications of Game Theory to Law (Benoit)
5. Legislative institutions, agenda setting, voting procedures, and constitutional politics (Helland)
6. Empirical Evaluation of game theoretic models (Gates)

The course work:
The instruction period of the course is five days. One day is devoted to each of the above items. The instructors present basic problems, models and developments in their respective fields of application. The focus is on the role of game theory in addressing economic, social and political problems. After the instruction period, each student is expected to write a course paper of roughly 20 pages on a subject related to the themes discussed in the course. Each instructor prepares a short list of alternative topics for papers. The papers will be sent to the co-organizers within 3 months after the instruction period.

Course Schedule:
All lectures, presentations and discussions will be at the Department of Political Science (DEP)

1.      Monday 12 June, 11:30-12:00 - Informal introduction
      LUNCH, 12:00-13:15 (Cafeteria MacciaVelli)
2.      Monday 12 June, 13:15-14:30 - Katri Sieberg: An introductory overview
      COFFEE at DEP
3.      Monday 12 June, 14:45- 16:00 - Katri Sieberg: Lecture continues

4.       Tuesday 13 June, 9:00-10:15 - Jean-Pierre Benoit: Applications of Game Theory to Law
      COFFEE at DEP
5.       Tuesday 13 June, 10:30-11:45 - Jean-Pierre Benoit: Lecture continues
       LUNCH 11:45-12:30 (DEP)
6.       Tuesday 13 June, 12:30-13:45 - Leif Helland: Legislative institutions, agenda setting, voting procedures, and constitutional politics
      COFFEE at DEP
7.       Tuesday 13 June, 14:00-15:15 - Leif Helland: Lecture continues
      EVENING PROGRAM 15:30-20:00 at Villa Rainer

8.       Wednesday 14 June, 9:00-10:15 - Will Heller: Institutional analysis
      COFFEE at DEP
9.       Wednesday 14 June, 10:30-11:45 - Will Heller: Lecture continues
       LUNCH 11:45-13:00 (Cafeteria Arken)
10.      Wednesday 14 June, 13:00-14:15 - Timo Tammi: Experimental evaluation of game theoretic models
      COFFEE at DEP
11.      Wednesday 14 June, 14:45-16:00 - Timo Tammi: Lecture continues

12.      Thursday 15 June, 9:15-10:15 - Scott Gates: Empirical evaluation of game theoretic models
      COFFEE at DEP
13.      Thursday 15 June, 10:30-12:00 - Scott Gates: Lecture continues
      LUNCH 12:00-13:15 (DEP)
14.      Thursday 15 June. 13:15-15:00 Student presentations and discussion

15.      Friday 16 June, 10:00-12:00 Student presentations and discussion
      LUNCH, 12:00-13:00 (Cafeteria MacciaVelli)
16.      Friday 16 June, 13:00-15:00 Roundtable discussion on issues of controversy + Coffee at DEP

Literature (tentative):
Alchian, A. & H. Demsetz, 1996. 'Production, Information Costs, and Economic Organiztion', pp 193-216 in L. Putterman & R.S. Krozner, eds, The Economic Nature of the Firm. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.

Benoit, Jean-Pierre & Juan Dubra, 2004. 'Why Do Good Cops Defend Bad Cops?', International Economic Review 45(4): 787-809.

Benoit, J.P. & L. Kornhauser, 2002. 'Game Theoretic Analyses of Legal Rules and Institutions' Chpt. 60 in R. J. Aumann & S. Hart, eds, Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, Vol 3. Elsevier: North-Holland.

Camerer, C. & E. Fehr, 2006. 'When Does "Economic Man" Dominate Social Behavior?' Science 311: 47-52.

Colomer, Josep M., 2001. Political Institutions, Comparative Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Crawford, V., 1997. Theory and Experiment in the Analysis of Strategic Interaction. In Advances in Economics and Econometrics: Theory and Applications, Seventh World Congress, Vol 1, edited by D. Kreps and K. Wallis, Cambridge University Press.

Fama, E., 1996. 'Agency Problems and the Theory of the Firm', pp. 302-314 in L. Putterman & R.S. Krozner, eds, The Economic Nature of the Firm. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.

Kiewiet, D. Roderick & Mathew D. McCubbins, 1988. 'Presidential Influence on Congressional Appropriations Decisions', American Journal of Political Science 32(3): 713-736.

Kiewiet, D. Roderick, & Mathew D. McCubbins, 1991. The Logic of Delegation: Congressional Parties and the Appropriations Process. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Morton, Rebecca B. 1999. Methods and Models. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.

Romer, Thomas, & Howard Rosenthal, 1978. 'Political Resource Allocation, Controlled Agendas, and the Status Quo', Public Choice 33(4): 27-44.

Roth, A., 2002 'The Economist as Engineer: Game Theory, Experimentation, and Computation as Tools for Design Economics', Econometrica 70(4): 1341-1378.

Sieberg, Katri, 2005. Criminal Dilemmas: Understanding and Preventing Crime. 2nd Edition. Berlin: Springer.

Tsebelis, George, 2002. Veto Players: How Political Institutions Work. New York & Princeton, NJ: Russel Sage Foundation & Princeton University Press.