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 outline. The readings and slides will be posted there. The books are on 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 Paper

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
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 a required course, so if you do not like economic theory or you do not like mathematics, you should consider taking a different course.  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 economic theory.


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.