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The roles of stories in applying game theory

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  • Till Grune-Yanoff
  • Paul Schweinzer

Abstract

Game-theoretic models consist of a formal game structure and an informal model narrative or story. When game theory is employed to model economic situations, the stories play a central role in interpreting, constructing and solving game structures. We analyse the architecture of game theory and distinguish between game models and the theory proper. We present the different functions of the model narrative in the application of game models to economic situations. In particular, we show how model narratives support the choice of solution concepts defined and provided by the theory proper. We further argue that the narrative's role in interpretation, construction and solution makes it a necessary part of a game model that is intended to be a model of an economic situation. We conclude that game theory is not a universal theory of rationality, but only offers tools to model specific situations at varying degrees and kinds of rationality.

Suggested Citation

  • Till Grune-Yanoff & Paul Schweinzer, 2008. "The roles of stories in applying game theory," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(2), pages 131-146.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jecmet:v:15:y:2008:i:2:p:131-146
    DOI: 10.1080/13501780802115075
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Elsner, Wolfram & Schwardt, Henning, 2012. "Trust and Arena Size. Expectations, Trust, and Institutions Co-Evolving, and Their Critical Population and Group Sizes," MPRA Paper 40393, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Itzhak Gilboa & Andrew Postlewaite & Larry Samuelson & David Schmeidler, 2011. "Economic Models as Analogies," PIER Working Paper Archive 12-001, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    3. Wolfram Elsner, 2010. "The process and a simple logic of ‘meso’. Emergence and the co-evolution of institutions and group size," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 445-477, June.
    4. Itzhak Gilboa & Andrew Postlewaite & Larry Samuelson & David Schmeidler, 2014. "A Model of Modeling," PIER Working Paper Archive 14-026, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    5. Itzhak Gilboa & Andrew Postlewaite & Larry Samuelson & David Schmeidler, 2014. "Economics: Between Prediction and Criticism," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1958, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Feb 2016.
    6. Wichardt, Philipp C., 2014. "Models and Fictions in (Micro-)Economics," Working Papers 2014:31, Lund University, Department of Economics, revised 12 Sep 2014.
    7. Foster, John & Metcalfe, J. Stan, 2012. "Economic emergence: An evolutionary economic perspective," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 420-432.
    8. Elsner, Wolfram & Heinrich, Torsten, 2009. "A simple theory of 'meso'. On the co-evolution of institutions and platform size--With an application to varieties of capitalism and 'medium-sized' countries," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 843-858, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    game theory; modelling; solution concepts; rationality; stories; B41; C70; D01;

    JEL classification:

    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles

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