Games on networks

This lecture focuses on strategic interaction that take place on networks. Part 1 overviews structural properties of empirical networks. Part 2 introduces a mathematical framework and notions of equilibria for thinking about strategic interaction between multiple players. Part 3 focuses on applications of game theory, including modeling network traffic, link analysis and web search and voting processes.

The best for the group comes when everyone in the group does what’s best for himself and the groupJohn Nash


Instructor: Jorge Finke

Office hours: Th 5:00-6:00pm

Level: graduate




Week starting…Lectures
Jan 25Lec 1 - Introduction
Feb 1Lec 2 - Strong and weak network ties, clustering, and bridges
Feb 8Lec 3 - Homophily and community structures
Feb 15Lec 4 - Representations of a game
Feb 22Lec 5 - What is a game?
Feb 29Lec 6 - Best responses and dominant strategies
Mar 7Lec 7 - Nash equilibrium
Mar 14Lec 8 - Multiple Nash equilibria
Mar 21— spring break —
Mar 28Lec 9 - Mixed strategies
Apr 4Lec 10 - Pareto optimality
Apr 11Lec 11 - Project 1 presentations
Apr 18Lec 12 - Modeling network traffic
Apr 25Lec 13 - Link analysis and web search
May 2Lec 14 - Voting processes
May 9Lec 15 - Project 2 presentations



Homework 1  (due Feb.18th, 2016)

Homework 2 (due March 3rd, 2016)

Homework 3 (due May 19th, 2016)

Project 1 (due April 14th, 2016)

Project 2 (due June 10th, 2016)


Representations of a game

What is a game? Reasoning about strategic behavior; the extensive and normal form of a game; best responses and dominant strategies; the Nash Equilibrium; multiple Equilibria; coordination Games

Mixed strategies

Mixed strategies; Pareto and social optimality; weakly donated v. strictly dominated Strategies; dynamic games


Types of auctions; ascending-bid; descending-bid; first-price sealed-bid; second-price sealed-bid; modeling second-price auctions as games

Web search

The structure of the web; link analysis and web search; PageRank

Multiple-item auctions

Matching markets; perfect matching; market-clearing prices (multiple-item auctions); multiple-item v. single-item auctions

Sponsored markets

Advertising as a matching market; the VCG price auction; encouraging truthful bidding