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Game Theory for Political Scientists [Hardcover]

James D. Morrow
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 19 1994

Game theory is the mathematical analysis of strategic interaction. In the fifty years since the appearance of von Neumann and Morgenstern's classic Theory of Games and Economic Behavior (Princeton, 1944), game theory has been widely applied to problems in economics. Until recently, however, its usefulness in political science has been underappreciated, in part because of the technical difficulty of the methods developed by economists. James Morrow's book is the first to provide a standard text adapting contemporary game theory to political analysis. It uses a minimum of mathematics to teach the essentials of game theory and contains problems and their solutions suitable for advanced undergraduate and graduate students in all branches of political science.

Morrow begins with classical utility and game theory and ends with current research on repeated games and games of incomplete information. The book focuses on noncooperative game theory and its application to international relations, political economy, and American and comparative politics. Special attention is given to models of four topics: bargaining, legislative voting rules, voting in mass elections, and deterrence. An appendix reviews relevant mathematical techniques. Brief bibliographic essays at the end of each chapter suggest further readings, graded according to difficulty. This rigorous but accessible introduction to game theory will be of use not only to political scientists but also to psychologists, sociologists, and others in the social sciences.


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Review

"James Morrow's superb book provides the best account of ideas from game theory tailored to the interests of political scientists, which is currently available."--The Times Higher Education Supplement

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Strategic situations are a subgroup of social situations. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent graduate level textbook Aug. 28 2000
Format:Hardcover
This book is an excellent introduction to game theory for the political science graduate student. Although some prior knowledge of economics and game theory would certainly help, the early chapters in the book are excellent in familiarizing the reader with basic formal concepts.
A few comments by the previous reviewer may be misunderstood by some readers. This is NOT a "general concepts" book - in other words this is NOT game theory for poets - not that I hold anything against poets. This book does require some undergraduate level mathematics, mainly differential and integral calculus. Those looking for rigorous formal proofs of all theorems will be disappointed, but this is a technical book with an emphasis on demonstrating the application of formal tools to common problems in political science. Some of the material such as the chapter on perfect and sequential equilibria can be quite challenging.
If you merely wish to get a sense of what formal political science is all about and do not intend to actually fire up the old calculator, I suggest Robert Axelrod's excellent book "The Evolution of Cooperation".
Was this review helpful to you?
Format:Hardcover
One of the nice things about this book is it can be as technical or mathematical as you want. If you just want the concepts, you won't be jarred by lots of equations. But if you like the technical aspects, they're all there, especially in the appendix.
Great simple treatment of everything from basic Nash Equilibrium to more sophisticated concepts such as Bayesian information analysis.
The only potential disappointment of this book is if you know game theory well and are looking for something very sophisticated, this is not the book for you -- not because there's anything wrong with this book, but because it wasn't designed for that level.
Was this review helpful to you?
3.0 out of 5 stars Answer keys are a little bit questionable. Jan. 22 2003
Format:Hardcover
There are apparently two versions floating around (from the same edition and same printing) with different answer keys in the back for some of the more difficult problems.
Otherwise, this is the standard textbook for game theory for political science. I'm inspired to read Schelling!
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent graduate level textbook Aug. 28 2000
By David D. Yang - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book is an excellent introduction to game theory for the political science graduate student. Although some prior knowledge of economics and game theory would certainly help, the early chapters in the book are excellent in familiarizing the reader with basic formal concepts.
A few comments by the previous reviewer may be misunderstood by some readers. This is NOT a "general concepts" book - in other words this is NOT game theory for poets - not that I hold anything against poets. This book does require some undergraduate level mathematics, mainly differential and integral calculus. Those looking for rigorous formal proofs of all theorems will be disappointed, but this is a technical book with an emphasis on demonstrating the application of formal tools to common problems in political science. Some of the material such as the chapter on perfect and sequential equilibria can be quite challenging.
If you merely wish to get a sense of what formal political science is all about and do not intend to actually fire up the old calculator, I suggest Robert Axelrod's excellent book "The Evolution of Cooperation".
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introductory text: it's as technical as you want May 16 2000
By Yaumo Gaucho - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
One of the nice things about this book is it can be as technical or mathematical as you want. If you just want the concepts, you won't be jarred by lots of equations. But if you like the technical aspects, they're all there, especially in the appendix.
Great simple treatment of everything from basic Nash Equilibrium to more sophisticated concepts such as Bayesian information analysis.
The only potential disappointment of this book is if you know game theory well and are looking for something very sophisticated, this is not the book for you -- not because there's anything wrong with this book, but because it wasn't designed for that level.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good concepts, bad writing Nov. 5 2004
By Amina Tarina - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I am currently using this book as a text for a graduate level game theory course for political scientists. Although Morrow does a good job covering the important concepts, the writing is wordy, awkward, and confusing. It makes it difficult to follow some of the more complicated problems, especially when learning the ideas for the first time. I would only recommend this book for people who already have a grasp of the ideas and want to learn more and see examples -- not so useful for first-time game theorists.
5.0 out of 5 stars Game Theory Review Aug. 28 2011
By Aurimas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It's a great book. I'm a university professor teaching business modeling and I find this book as a really great asset to my class. The book has some clear and easy to get ideas, students catch up with stuff on the pages quite fast. Plus, as my student's aren't really good in math, the Apendix with math formulas helps them a lot.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Answer keys are a little bit questionable. Jan. 22 2003
By monkeykupo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There are apparently two versions floating around (from the same edition and same printing) with different answer keys in the back for some of the more difficult problems.
Otherwise, this is the standard textbook for game theory for political science. I'm inspired to read Schelling!
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