This course will cover topics of interest in economic theory and
mathematical economics, with particular emphasis on topics in decision theory, game
theory and mechanism design. A selection of both background and
contemporary material will be covered, though the focus of the course
will be on the instructors' current research. Plenty of research
opportunities will be discussed. Details of the course may be
found on the
The readings and slides will be posted there. The books are
reserve in the library.
This will be a lecture course. The two course requirements are a
referee report and a paper. There will be 4-5 problems sets that
you are strongly encouraged to do.
The goal of the paper is to make a preliminary start on doing your own research. There are several ways to go about doing this
Write an original research paper on an idea you have. The goal
would be to provide a preliminary sketch of results, with the aim of
finishing a complete paper during the second semester.
Write a critical literature review. This should focus on a small
number (two or three papers). You should try to analyze the goals of
the research and whether these goals are accomplished. The aim is to
try to find important or useful directions for additional
Bear in mind that one possible outcome of any research is the negative
result that you don't find anything (otherwise it would hardly be
"research"). In this case you should write a brief paper explaining
what you did and why it didn't work, and be prepared to drop the
project and move on.
Those students who have taken Economics 511 or a course in mathematical
analysis have an adequate mathematics background for our topics.
Students who wish to write dissertations in economic theory should take
as many mathematics courses as possible: 4111, 4121, 417, 418, 451,
452, 5051, 5052.
Be advised that this course is about economic theory (see the title)
and will employ relatively advanced mathematics. This is not
required course, so if you do not like economic theory or you do not
like mathematics, you should consider taking a different
The purpose is not to give students a taste of theory (this was done in
503-504), but rather to prepare students to write dissertations in
1. Osborne and Rubinstein, A Course in Game Theory, The MIT Press, 1994.
2. Fudenberg and Tirole, Game Theory, The MIT Press, 1991.
3. Topkis, Supermodularity and Complementarity, The Princeton University Press, 1998.
4. Mailath and Samuelson, Repeated Games and Reputations: Long-run Relationships, Oxford University Press, 2007.
5. Kreps, Notes on the Theory of Choice, Westview Press, 1988.