NYU Stern School of Business

Undergraduate College

C70.0020.001: GAME THEORY

Fall 2010

Instructor Details

Seamans, Robert




KMC 7-58


Course Meetings

MW, 11:00am to 12:15pm

Tisch T-LC21

Final Exam:

Schedule exceptions
    Class will not meet on:
    Class will meet on:


Course Description and Learning Goals

The purpose of this course is to introduce the basics of game theory to undergraduate students in business. We will focus on fundamentals of game theory, covering basic concepts and techniques through a mix of lectures, exercises and case discussions. We will also think about how the lessons we learn might apply to other contexts, such as politics. The course will equip students with game theory techniques for making good business decisions by learning how to recognize and model strategic situations and to predict when and how actions will influence the decisions of others.


Course Outline

Class 1
What is Game Theory?  Course Introduction and Overview (Thinking Strategically)

Cass 2
Introduction to the Basics: the Rules of the Game, the Players of the Game, Best Response, Nash Equilibrium (Thinking Strategically)

Class 3
Sequential Games 1: Think Forward, Reason Back; experiment TBD (Thinking Strategically)

Class 4
Sequential Games 2: Introduction to Decision Tree Analysis Software

Class 5
Sequential Games 3: Entry Games (HBS Case: Ryan Air)

Class 6
Sequential Games 4: Entry Games and Timing (HBS Case: Ryan Air)

Class 7
Simultaneous Games 1: Introduction to Normal Form Games, Prisoner's Dilemna (Thinking Strategically)

Class 8
Simultaneous Games 2: Applications: Price War, Oil Production; Spectrum auction experiment

Class 9
Repeated Games 1: Introduction OPEC experiment (ongoing in future weeks) (Thinking Strategically)

Class 10
Repeated Games 2: Introduction to Repeated Games (OPEC experiment ongoing) (Thinking Strategically)
DUE: Group Project Proposal

Class 11
Repeated Games 3: Repeated Games - Punishment and Enforcement (OPEC experiment ongoing) (Thinking Strategically)

Class 12
Repeated Games 4: OPEC experiment wrap up (Thinking Strategically)

Class 13
Mid Term Review

Class 14
Mid Term in class

Class 15
Signaling Games 1: Introduction

Class 16
Singaling Games 2: Signaling Cost (HBS Case: Holland Sweetener)

Class 17
Singaling Games 3: Signaling Cost (HBS Case: Holland Sweetener)

Class 18
Added Value 1: Introduction (Coopetition Reading)

Class 19
Added Value 2 (HBS Case: Wintel) (Coopetition)

Class 20
Added Value 3 (HBS Case: Wintel) (Coopetition)

Class 21
War of Attrition 1 (HBS Case: BSB vs. Sky)

Class 22
War of Attrition 2 (HBS Case: BSB vs. Sky)

Class 23
Group Project Presentations
DUE: Group Project Write Up

Class 24
Group Project Presentations

Class 25
Review for Final

Class 26
Final Examin class


Required Course Materials


Assessment Components

Grading will be based on the following:

Participation (and in-class activities) 15%
In Class MidTerm 20%
Group Project 35%
In Class Final Exam 30%

Participation: Your effort and contribution in class discussions will determine your participation grade. I will evaluate your remarks not depending on whether you agree with me (the discussion will not be one sided), but based on their relevance, accuracy and logical consistency. Please bring your name card so that I can identify you more easily in the classroom, and try to sit in the same area throughout. I will also track attendance through participation. If you need to miss a class, please email me ahead of time to tell me you will be away and why.

Exams: There will be an in-class midterm exam and an in class final exam. The format of the exams will be similar to voluntary homework assignments that I will give out during the course. The voluntary homework assignments will be an excellent way for you to practice and prepare for the mid-term and final exams. There will be no make-up tests – please plan on being there!

Group Project: Your group will research, write and present a short research paper that applies the tools we learn in class to a real-world issue. There will be three components to the Group Project. The first component is a one page proposal due at the end of Week 5. The second component is the research paper, due in Week 12. The third component is a presentation of the research project to your classmates, which will be scheduled for Weeks 12-13. More information about the Group Project, including length of paper, formatting, etc. will be given in class in Week 1.

The Stern School has the following guidelines for letter grades in UG courses:
25-35% of students can expect to receive As
50-70% of students can expect to receive Bs
5-15% of students can expect to receive Cs

A Blackboard website has been created for this course. You should check blackboard on a regular basis. The course syllabus, class roster, lecture notes, discussion questions, assignment information, and general course announcements will all be posted on the site.


Group Projects

Guidelines for Group Projects

Business activities involve group effort. Consequently, learning how to work effectively in a group is a critical part of your business education.

Every member is expected to carry an equal share of the group’s workload. As such, it is in your interest to be involved in all aspects of the project. Even if you divide the work rather than work on each piece together, you are still responsible for each part. The group project will be graded as a whole:   its different components will not be graded separately. Your exams may contain questions that are based on aspects of your group projects.

It is recommended that each group establish ground rules early in the process to facilitate your joint work including a problem-solving process for handling conflicts. In the infrequent case where you believe that a group member is not carrying out his or her fair share of work, you are urged not to permit problems to develop to a point where they become serious. If you cannot resolve conflicts internally after your best efforts, they should be brought to my attention and I will work with you to find a resolution.

You will be asked to complete a peer evaluation form to evaluate the contribution of each of your group members (including your own contribution) at the conclusion of each project. If there is consensus that a group member did not contribute a fair share of work to the project, I will consider this feedback during grading.



At NYU Stern we seek to teach challenging courses that allow students to demonstrate their mastery of the subject matter.  In general, students in undergraduate core courses can expect a grading distribution where: 

Note that while the School uses these ranges  as a guide, the actual distribution for this course and your own grade will depend upon how well  you actually perform in this course.



The process of assigning grades is intended to be one of unbiased evaluation. Students are encouraged to respect the integrity and authority of the professor’s grading system and are discouraged from pursuing arbitrary challenges to it.

If you believe an inadvertent error has been made in the grading of an individual assignment or in assessing an overall course grade, a request to have the grade re-evaluated may be submitted. You must submit such requests in writing to me within 7 days of receiving the grade, including a brief written statement of why you believe that an error in grading has been made.


Professional Responsibilities For This Course




In-class contribution is a significant part of your grade and an important part of our shared learning experience. Your active participation helps me to evaluate your overall performance.
You can excel in this area if you come to class on time and contribute to the course by:




Classroom Norms


Stern Policies

General Behavior
The School expects that students will conduct themselves with respect and professionalism toward faculty, students, and others present in class and will follow the rules laid down by the instructor for classroom behavior.  Students who fail to do so may be asked to leave the classroom. 


Collaboration on Graded Assignments
Students may not work together on graded assignment unless the instructor gives express permission. 


Course Evaluations
Course evaluations are important to us and to students who come after you.  Please complete them thoughtfully.


Academic Integrity

Integrity is critical to the learning process and to all that we do here at NYU Stern. As members of our community, all students agree to abide by the NYU Stern Student Code of Conduct, which includes a commitment to:

The entire Stern Student Code of Conduct applies to all students enrolled in Stern courses and can be found here:

Undergraduate College: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/uc/codeofconduct
Graduate Programs: http://w4.stern.nyu.edu/studentactivities/involved.cfm?doc_id=102505

To help ensure the integrity of our learning community, prose assignments you submit to Blackboard will be submitted to Turnitin.  Turnitin will compare your submission to a database of prior submissions to Turnitin, current and archived Web pages, periodicals, journals, and publications.  Additionally, your document will become part of the Turnitin database.


Recording of Classes

Your class may be recorded for educational purposes


Students with Disabilities

If you have a qualified disability and will require academic accommodation of any kind during this course, you must notify me at the beginning of the course and provide a letter from the Moses Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD, 998-4980, www.nyu.edu/csd) verifying your registration and outlining the accommodations they recommend.  If you will need to take an exam at the CSD, you must submit a completed Exam Accommodations Form to them at least one week prior to the scheduled exam time to be guaranteed accommodation.


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