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  • Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Game Theory Assignments

    May 08, 2023
    Jackson Mordell
    Jackson Mordell
    Jackson Mordell has a master’s degree in economics and is also an experienced game theory assignment expert.

    Game theory is a fascinating discipline with numerous applications of economics, including economics, politics, and psychology. However, writing assignments in game theory can be difficult, and students frequently make errors that affect their grades. This article will discuss the top ten errors to avoid when writing game theory papers.

    Mistake #1: Failing to understand the game

    Not completely comprehending the game being analyzed is one of the most common errors made by students when completing game theory assignments. Game theory is a difficult subject that requires an in-depth comprehension of the game's rules and strategies. If you do not thoroughly comprehend the game, you cannot accurately analyze it.

    To avoid this error, take the time to carefully peruse and comprehend the game's rules. Consider the game's objectives, the individuals involved, the strategies they can employ, and the possible outcomes. This will provide a firm foundation for analyzing the game and determining the most effective strategies.

    Another essential factor to consider is the game's underlying assumptions. Models of game theory make assumptions about the behavior of participants, including their rationality and self-interest. If these assumptions are false, the game analysis may be inaccurate. Therefore, it is essential to evaluate the model's assumptions and determine if they are plausible in the real-world context of the game.

    Additionally, when analyzing the game, consider all possible outcomes and strategies, regardless of how implausible they may seem. There may be alternative, more effective means of achieving the desired result than the most evident or prevalent strategies.

    By taking the time to completely comprehend the game and its underlying assumptions, you will be in a better position to correctly analyze it and determine the optimal strategies for all players involved. Ultimately, this will result in a more efficient and accurate game theory assignment.

    Mistake #2: Ignoring the assumptions

    The foundation of game theory is a series of assumptions regarding the behavior of players. These assumptions are required to make the game models tractable, but they may not always hold true in reality. Neglecting the assumptions can result in erroneous conclusions and defective analyses.

    To avoid this error, it is essential to comprehend the game theory model's underlying assumptions. Typical assumptions include rationality, self-interest, and complete knowledge. In some contexts, these assumptions may be reasonable, but not in others. In a game involving a group of peers, for instance, social norms and personal relationships may play a more significant role than self-interest.

    Additionally, it is essential to consider the model's limitations. In order to facilitate analysis, models can simplify the actual world, but these simplifications are not always accurate. For instance, a model may presume that players can instantaneously and accurately calculate the payoffs of their actions, but this may not be possible in practice.

    When analyzing a game, it is essential to consider the model's assumptions and limitations and evaluate their applicability in the actual context of the game. This may necessitate additional research or data collection to ensure the accuracy and applicability of the analysis.

    By considering the model's assumptions and limitations, you can avoid drawing incorrect conclusions and ensure that your analysis is accurate and pertinent to the game's real-world context.

    Mistake #3: Focusing too much on equilibrium

    The concept of equilibrium, a state in which no player can improve their payoff by changing their strategy unilaterally, is one of the most essential in game theory. In game theory, equilibria are essential, but focusing excessively on them can be a mistake.

    Assuming that a game has a unique equilibrium is a common error. In reality, many games can have multiple equilibria, which can result in a variety of outcomes contingent on the strategies of the players. In addition, some games may have no discernible equilibrium, making analysis more challenging.

    Assuming that players will always engage at equilibrium is a second error. In reality, participants may not always play rationally and may base their decisions on emotions, social norms, or personal relationships. This can result in outcomes that differ from what the equilibrium analysis predicts.

    To avoid this error, it is essential to evaluate both the game's equilibria and the other possible outcomes. This may entail analyzing the stability of the equilibria and determining how likely it is that players will actually play at those equilibrium points. It may also entail contemplating alternative outcomes that can result from alternative player strategies or deviations from equilibrium.

    By focusing on both equilibria and other potential outcomes of a game, it is possible to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of the game and its potential outcomes. This can result in more precise analysis and better-informed choices.

    Mistake #4: Using the incorrect notation

    Notation is essential for accurately depicting the game and its components in game theory. Using improper notation can result in confusion and analysis errors. Consequently, it is essential to use the proper notation when composing game theory assignments.

    Using incorrect symbols to represent the participants and their strategies is a common error. In some instances, students may use numbers or letters to depict players or strategies, causing confusion when attempting to analyze the game. It is essential to use clear and consistent symbols to represent participants and their strategies, such as P1 and P2 for two players and S1 and S2 for their strategies.

    Using incorrect symbols to depict the payouts is another error. Using positive numbers to represent losses or negative numbers to represent gains, for instance, can cause confusion when analyzing a game. It is essential to use consistent and appropriate symbols to depict payoffs, such as negative numbers to represent losses and positive numbers to represent gains.

    Incorrect notation can also result in analysis errors, such as misrepresenting the payoff matrix or misinterpreting the game's components. This can lead to erroneous conclusions regarding the game and its potential outcomes.

    To avoid this error, it is essential to examine the game's notation and ensure that it accurately represents the game's components. In addition, it may be useful to verify the correctness of the notation used in calculations and analyses.

    By using the correct notation in game theory assignments, you can precisely represent the game and its components, leading to a more precise analysis and more well-informed conclusions.

    Mistake #5: Failing to identify dominant strategies

    In game theory, dominant strategy is a central concept that can have a significant impact on the game's outcome. A dominant strategy is one that produces the maximum return for a player regardless of the strategies chosen by other players.

    Failure to identify dominant strategies is a common oversight in game theory assignments. This can potentially lead to incorrect analysis of the event and incorrect conclusions about the outcome.

    To identify dominant strategies, it is necessary to investigate the payoff matrix and each player's chosen strategies in depth. A dominant strategy will always generate the highest return for a player, regardless of the other players' strategies. It is essential to consider a player's dominant strategy when analyzing the game and contemplating the potential outcomes.

    The inability to recognize dominant strategies may also lead to missed opportunities to make strategic movements. If a participant possesses a dominant strategy, they can potentially manipulate the outcome of the game to their advantage.

    To avoid this error, it is essential to thoroughly examine the payoff matrix and each player's chosen strategy. Consider any dominant strategies when analyzing the game and determining possible outcomes. By identifying dominant strategies, you can make better-informed decisions and potentially increase your chances of winning.

    Mistake #6: Confusing payoffs with preferences

    Payoffs are the outcomes that result from various strategies in game theory. Each participant in a game has a set of possible strategies, and the payoffs for each strategy are contingent on the strategies chosen by all players.

    In contrast, preferences refer to the subjective value that each player allocates to various payoffs. Frequently, risk aversion, optimism or pessimism, and strategic considerations influence preferences.

    In game theory assignments, it is common to confuse payoffs and preferences. This can lead to incorrect analysis of the game and potentially erroneous conclusions regarding its outcome.

    In order to avoid this error, it is essential to differentiate between payoffs and preferences when analyzing a game. Payoffs are objective results that can be measured and compared, whereas player preferences are subjective and can vary.

    It is essential to consider both payoffs and preferences when analyzing a game. Payoffs play a significant role in determining the optimal strategy for a player, whereas preferences can influence a player's decision-making and result in suboptimal outcomes.

    To avoid conflating payoffs and preferences, it is essential to scrutinize the payoff matrix and each player's chosen strategies with care. Consider any patterns in the payouts and how the preferences of each participant may impact their decisions.

    Mistake #7: Failing to consider the role of uncertainty

    In game theory, uncertainty is a fundamental concept, and failure to account for it can lead to fatal errors in analysis. Uncertainty refers to the fact that participants are not always aware of the game's actions, payoffs, or even the rules.

    In many instances, game theorists model uncertainty using probability distributions. In a game of rock-paper-scissors, for instance, each participant has three potential moves. If one player chooses rock, the other player has an equal chance of selecting paper or scissors. If a player fails to account for this uncertainty, they may erroneously presume that their opponent will always select the same strategy.

    In some instances, game theorists may model uncertainty using information sets. A collection of decision nodes in a game where the player is ambiguous as to which node they have reached. In a game of poker, for instance, a player may not know which cards their opponent is holding, resulting in a more complicated game than if they had comprehensive information.

    To avoid this error, it is crucial to consider the function of uncertainty in a game. In addition, it is essential to accurately characterize this uncertainty by employing the proper probability distributions or data sets. Thus, game theorists can obtain more precise predictions of how a game will play out and make better strategic decisions.

    Mistake #8: Overcomplicating the analysis

    Overcomplicating the analysis is a typical error made by students when composing game theory-related assignments. While it is essential to consider all potential outcomes and strategies, it is equally crucial to keep the analysis straightforward and concise.

    Overcomplicating the analysis can result in perplexity and calculation errors. It can also hinder the reader's ability to follow the argument and comprehend the conclusions.

    To avoid an overly complex analysis, begin by identifying the main players and their respective strategies. Concentrate on the most vital aspects of the game and avoid getting weighed down by inconsequential particulars.

    In addition, strive to use straightforward and uncomplicated language when describing the game and its strategies. Avoid employing difficult-to-understand jargon and complex mathematical notation.

    Lastly, it can be beneficial to use diagrams or other visual aids to facilitate the analysis. A well-designed diagram can clarify and condense complex information, making it simpler for the reader to follow the argument and grasp the conclusions.

    Mistake #9: Failing to consider real-world applications

    Game theory is a potent instrument for comprehending human behavior in strategic situations, and it has numerous applications in the real world. Students frequently commit the error of overlooking these applications when composing game theory assignments.

    Economics is one of the most significant real-world applications of game theory. Market behavior, pricing strategies, and the effects of regulations and other economic policies can be analyzed using game theory. For instance, game theory can be used to analyze how firms compete in oligopoly markets, where a small number of dominant firms dominate the industry. By simulating the behavior of these firms and analyzing the outcomes of various strategies, game theory can assist in predicting the long-term evolution of prices and market shares.

    In addition to having applications in political science, game theory is notably useful for the study of international relations. In strategic situations such as arms races, trade negotiations, and conflict resolution, game theory can be used to analyze the behavior of nations and other actors. For instance, game theory can be used to analyze the strategies states employ to dissuade one another from starting a conflict or to comprehend the effects of various types of trade agreements on economic outcomes.

    Game theory has applications in disciplines like psychology, sociology, and biology, in addition to economics and political science. For instance, game theory can be used to model individual behavior in social dilemmas such as the prisoner's dilemma and the tragedy of the commons. Additionally, game theory can be utilized to examine the evolution of cooperation and other social behaviors in animal populations.

    It is crucial to consider these real-world applications and use them to illustrate key concepts when writing game theory assignments. You can demonstrate a deeper understanding of the material and an appreciation for the theory's broader implications by doing so.

    Mistake #10: Failing to proofread

    Proofreading is an integral part of any writing process, including game theory assignments. Failure to proofread can result in errors, typos, and other blunders that can result in a loss of grade points. Here are some guidelines to help you effectively proofread your game theory assignment:

    • Take a pause: After completing your assignment's writing, take a break before proofreading. This will allow you to approach your work with a fresh perspective and a clear head.
    • Read aloud: Read your homework to yourself out loud. This will assist you in identifying errors you may have missed while reading silently.
    • Utilize a typo checker: Use a spell checker to identify any misspellings. However, bear in mind that spell checkers can't catch every mistake, so be sure to carefully read over your assignment.
    • Verify your formatting: Ensure your formatting is uniform throughout your assignment. Check the headings, font size, spacing, and margins of your work.
    • Verify your references: Ensure that your references are formatted properly and that you've included all pertinent information.
    • Obtain a second opinion: Have someone else review your assignment for errors you may have overlooked.

    Proofreading is essential to ensuring the quality of your game theory assignment. By taking the time to proofread, you can avoid making basic errors that can result in lost points.


    Writing a game theory assignment can be challenging, but you can increase your chances of success by avoiding these common errors. Remember to comprehend the game, consider the assumptions, concentrate on pertinent concepts, use correct notation, identify dominant strategies, consider preferences, account for uncertainty, avoid overcomplicating the analysis, think about real-world applications, and proofread your work. By adhering to these guidelines, you will write your game theory assignments better and earn higher grades.

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