Non-Cooperative Games

CentER Working Paper No. 2000-96

17 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2000

See all articles by Eric van Damme

Eric van Damme

TILEC and CentER, Tilburg University

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Date Written: October 2000


Non-cooperative games are mathematical models of interactive strategic decision situations. In contrast t o cooperative models, they build on the assumption that all possibilities for commitment and contract have been incorporated in the rules of the game. This contribution describes the main models (games in normal form, and games in extensive form), as well as the main concepts that have been proposed to solve these games. Solution concepts predict the outcomes that might arise when the game is played by ?rational? individuals, or after learning processes have converged. Most of these solution concepts are variations of the equilibrium concept that was proposed by John Nash in the 1950s, a Nash equilibrium being a combination of strategies such that no player can improve his payoff by deviating unilaterally. The paper also discusses the justifications of these concepts and concludes with remarks about the applicability of game theory in contexts where players are less than fully rational.

Suggested Citation

van Damme, Eric E.C., Non-Cooperative Games (October 2000). CentER Working Paper No. 2000-96, Available at SSRN: or

Eric E.C. Van Damme (Contact Author)

TILEC and CentER, Tilburg University ( email )

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Tilburg, 5000 LE
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