I regularly make announcements, clarifications, further instructions, etc., in class and by email and Learning Suite. You are responsible for all of these, even if you do not attend class. You are also responsible for keeping your email up to date at my.byu.edu. (You should let me know if your email changes during the semester.) I suggest that you exchange phone numbers and/or e-mail addresses with other students in the class.
I will use Learning Suite to post assignments and grades.
I will hold office hours Mondays and Tuesdays from 9:30-10:30 a.m. I am also available at other times if you make arrangements with me. I encourage you to come by to talk about assignments in the class, suggestions for improving the class, politics and current events, the perils of student life, or for any other reason.
I expect that students will have a working knowledge of politics and basic political science, and know how to organize and write. This can easily be fulfilled by taking the department core courses (Political Science 110, 150, 170, 200).
This course is an introduction to game theory, concentrating on applications in politics. Game theory is the formal method of examining interdependent decisions. An interdependent decision is one where what you do will depend on what someone else does. For example, a politician running for office may consider how voters will react to an issue stance. The leader of a country may consider how other countries will react to an invasion of another country. A citizen may consider how a government will react if the citizen protests (peacefully or not).
Game theory provides tools for evaluating these situations. By the end of the course, you should be able to:
The BYU Department of Political Science has developed a set of expected student learning outcomes. These will help you understand the objectives of the curriculum in the program, including this class. In the parlance of the Political Science department's learning outcomes, this course helps you:
This is a problem-based course. Students learn principles by reading the text. Thus, you should read the material to be discussed prior to the class. Students learn how to apply the principles by solving problems with the instructor using those principles in class. Then students test their understanding by solving problems on their own. Students will all have the opportunity/obligation to present their answers to various problems to the rest of class. You should anticipate that I will call on you to contribute your opinion.
I actively encourage questions, interruptions, cries for help, protests of disbelief, etc. You will never be penalized for participating--even when this takes the form of vague complaints like, "I've got no clue why we are reading this stuff!" I urge--indeed, I expect--you to take advantage of the chance to talk with me during office hours.
A Chinese proverb (supposedly) says, "I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand." This philosophy drives the requirements of the class.
To understand game theory, you must use game theory. We will have weekly problem sets to practice using game theory.
All problem sets are due at the beginning of class on the day designated in the course schedule. If you cannot make it to class, please turn in the problem set to the Political Science dropbox (outside the Political Science office--745 SWKT) before class begins. Alternatively, you may email me the problem set. (Scan your assignment and email it.) I will not accept late problem sets. The primary reason for no late problem sets is so that we can discuss the problem set in class immediately after it is turned in. If you anticipate a problem with submitting an problem set when it is due, speak to me before the problem set is due so that we can try to work out an alternative arrangement.
On the days that problem sets are due, we will spend the first part of class going over the problem set. I will choose students to go to the board and present their solutions to problems. To facilitate this, I suggest that you make a copy of your problem set before you turn it in. (This is a good habit for any class.)
You may work together on these problem sets in groups of two or at most three, but you must write up your answers separately. I give much more detailed instructions on how to report your work together in the Academic Honesty section below. Generally, if you use other persons' work, or make changes to your own work without inquiring or understanding what you did incorrectly, then you are trying to get a grade using someone else's knowledge. Giving or receiving answers in this manner is not permitted in this course. If you do not learn how to analyze or solve problems on your own, you will have difficulty on the exams.
Problem sets will generally be due on Wednesdays until the end of the semester, when the schedule shifts. The problem sets will be posted on Learning Suite. I strongly suggest that you start working early on the problem sets.
(I have taken this idea from Harrington and modified it.) For the project, you are to use game theory to model and make predictive statements about the behavior of people for either a real-world, current or historical political situation. A real-world political situation is one that routinely occurs in politics. (If you wish to model a fictional political situation, please see me. A fictional political situation may be drawn from a story, poem, play, television show, movie, or computer software program but it is not to be a product of your imagination.) Your imagination may be used to model a situation but not in creating the situation. Most critically, the situation cannot be one that we have gone over in class. The project is meant to be original work and will be graded on: i) how creative, sophisticated, and accurate is your model; and ii) how compelling, insightful, and correct is your analysis.
Preliminary work for your poster will be assigned as parts of problems sets.
Instead of presenting your work as a research paper, you will present it as a research poster at the Political Science Department Poster Conference. This poster conference will be similar to the Fulton Conference, on which, details can be found here. You submit your poster here. The submission deadline is December 4. The poster session takes place December 13, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. in the Garden Court of the Wilkinson Student Center.
There will be one midterm exam taken in class during the term that covers about 7 weeks' material, and a final examination that will be comprehensive. The final exam will be administered on Thursday, December 21 in our classroom from 3-6 p.m. (as noted on the final exam schedule). Do not ask to take the final examination early. It is against university policy to give final examinations outside of the scheduled time. You should not make any plans that interfere with the final exam schedule. Please do not ask for exceptions. I am not authorized to grant them.
You may use calculators (but not other electronic devices) for the exams. You may not use notes (yours or others'), texts, or other students' exams. The exams will consist of questions similar to those of the problem sets.
The final exams may be picked up in the Political Science office (745 SWKT) after they are graded.
The course is graded on a modified curve, using principles that will be explained in more detail in the course. The basic idea is that I will look for natural breaks between students and assign grades accordingly. Thus, I do not assign a set number or percentage of As, Bs, and Cs.
Unlike many other classes at BYU, the points you receive do not correspond to percentage of the material learned, or to particular letter grades. In other words, a 75 (out of 100) does not mean that you understand 75% of the material, nor does it mean you have a C. It means you scored higher than anyone that received a 74 or lower, and scored lower than anyone that received a 76 or higher.
I include the following information from the BYU 2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog, which guides how I grade and determine workload:
Putting these statements together, the university expects an "average student" to work "much more" than 9 hours a week to receive an 'A' (= "excellence") in a 3 credit-hour course. This is my expectation as well.
Students who succeed in this course have the following characteristics. They
From the Academic Honesty section of the BYU Honor Code: "The first injunction of the BYU Honor Code is the call to `be honest.' Students come to the university not only to improve their minds, gain knowledge, and develop skills that will assist them in their life's work, but also to build character. `President David O. McKay taught that character is the highest aim of education' (The Aims of a BYU Education, p. 6). It is the purpose of the BYU Academic Honesty Policy to assist in fulfilling that aim."
"BYU students should seek to be totally honest in their dealings with others. They should complete their own work and be evaluated based upon that work. They should avoid academic dishonesty and misconduct in all its forms, including but not limited to plagiarism, fabrication or falsification, cheating, and other academic misconduct" (cite). Read the full version here.
A colleague (Mitch Sanders, former professor at Notre Dame) has already explicated these issues specifically for political science. Please read here.
If you write a paper for another course (past or present) that uses the same topic as the project for this course, you need to approve it with me first, and then you must turn in to me a copy of the paper from your other course.
In this class, you need to acknowledge the contributions of others toward your assignments. I have taken the following guidelines from MIT's Unified Engineering class. I have changed and added various words where appropriate:
"The fundamental principle of academic integrity is that you must fairly represent the source of the intellectual content of the work you submit for credit. In the context of [Poli 304], this means that if you consult other sources (such as fellow students, TA's, faculty, literature) in the process of completing homework, you must acknowledge the sources in any way that reflects true ownership of the ideas and methods you used."
"Doing homework helps to engage with the concepts and material taught in class on a deeper level. To enhance the learning process we strongly suggest that you first try to solve the problems by yourself and then discuss challenges in groups or in office hours if necessary. Discussion among students and in office hours to digest the material and the homework problems or to prepare for [exams] is considered useful in the educational process. COLLABORATION ON HOMEWORK IS ALLOWED UNLESS OTHERWISE DIRECTED AS LONG AS ALL REFERENCES (BOTH LITERATURE AND PEOPLE) USED ARE NAMED CLEARLY AT THE END OF THE ASSIGNMENT. Word-by-word copies of someone else's solution or parts of a solution handed in for credit will be considered cheating unless there is a reference to the source for any part of the work which was copied verbatim. FAILURE TO CITE OTHER STUDENT'S CONTRIBUTION TO YOUR HOMEWORK SOLUTION WILL BE CONSIDERED CHEATING."
"Study groups are considered an educationally beneficial activity. However, at the end of each problem on which you collaborated with other students you must cite the students and the interaction. The purpose of this is to acknowledge their contribution to your work. Some examples follow:
Unfortunately, some students still profess ignorance of or attempt to find loopholes in the previous guidelines. As a result of sad experience, I repeat the following guidelines and add clarifications:
In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Brigham Young University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment—including sexual violence—committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of "Sexual Misconduct" prohibited by the university.
University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of Sexual Misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. Incidents of Sexual Misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at email@example.com or (801) 422-8692. Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at https://titleix.byu.edu/report or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours a day).
BYU offers confidential resources for those affected by Sexual Misconduct, including the university’s Victim Advocate, as well as a number of non-confidential resources and services that may be helpful. Additional information about Title IX, the university's Sexual Misconduct Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found at http://titleix.byu.edu or by contacting the university's Title IX Coordinator.
Brigham Young University is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere that reasonably accommodates qualified persons with disabilities. If you have any disability which may impair your ability to complete this course successfully, please contact the University Accessibility Center (UAC), 2170 WSC or 422-2767. Reasonable academic accommodations are reviewed for all students who have qualified, documented disabilities. The UAC can also assess students for learning, attention, and emotional concerns. Services are coordinated with the student and instructor by the UAC. If you need assistance or if you feel you have been unlawfully discriminated against on the basis of disability, you may seek resolution through established grievance policy and procedures by contacting the Equal Employment Office at 422-5895, D-285 ASB.
All course materials (e.g., outlines, handouts, syllabi, exams, quizzes, PowerPoint presentations, lectures, audio and video recordings, etc.) are proprietary. Students are prohibited from posting or selling any such course materials without the express written permission of the professor teaching this course. To do so is a violation of the Brigham Young University Honor Code.
Mental health concerns and stressful life events can affect students' academic performance and quality of life. BYU Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS, 1500 WSC, 801-422-3035, caps.byu.edu) provides individual, couples, and group counseling, as well as stress management services. These services are confidential and are provided by the university at no cost for full-time students. For general information please visit https://caps.byu.edu; for more immediate concerns please visit http://help.byu.edu.
All readings should be read before class for full understanding of the subject material.
The text for the course is:
We will cover about one chapter per week of Harrington.
|11||Strategic Form||3||Problem Set 0|
|13||Dominance||3||Problem Set 1|
|20||n-player Games||5||Problem Set 2|
|27||Continuous Games||6||Problem Set 3|
|October 2||Mixed Strategies||7|
|4||Mixed Strategies||7||Problem Set 4|
|11||Extensive Form||8||Problem Set 5|
|18||Review||Problem Set 6|
|23||No class: Testing Center||Midterm Exam|
|November 1||Bayesian Games||10||Problem Set 7|
|8||Costly Signaling||11||Problem Set 8|
|15||Cheap Talk||12||Problem Set 9|
|22||No class: Thanksgiving|
|27||Repeated Games||13||Problem Set 10|
|29||Repeated Games Applications||14|
|December 4||Overlapping Generations||15||Poster Due|
|11||Review||Problem Set 11|
|13||No class: Poster Conference|
|15||Exam Preparation Day|
I often use video clips from popular culture (television programs, movies) to illustrate and emphasize the readings. In this class, I especially use clips from movies. If you consider this to be inappropriate, then do not take this class.
I consulted numerous game theory syllabi in designing this course, including syllabi by Scott Ainsworth, Jeff Banks, Paulo Barelli, Kathleen Bawn, Ted Bergstrom, Ethan Bueno de Mesquita, Giacomo Bonanno, Randy Calvert, Vincent Crawford, Eric Dickson, James Fowler, Sean Gailmard, Scott Gelbach, Catherine Hafer, Joseph Harrington, Macartan Humphreys, Tasos Kalandrakis, Kristin Kanthak, David McAdams, Felix Muñoz-Garcia, Barry O'Neill, Orie Shelef, Ahmer Tarar, Georg Vanberg, and Daniel Verdier.
Jay Goodliffe's home page
This page is http://goodliffe.byu.edu/304/syllabus.htm