Game Theory and Conflict Resolution

Dr. Maya Diamant 

Faculty of Managment, Tel Aviv University (2 credits)

A conflict is an interactive situation. The course of the conflict as well as its resolution depend on the decisions made by the various parties involved. Each party, when considering its decisions, should take into account the decisions made by all the other parties. Game theory studies decision making in such interactive environments.


We will present prototypes of various games and study basic concepts required for their analysis like domination and equilibrium. Emphasize will be put on the need to change the "rules" of the game when it results in undesirable outcome, and designing rules to obtain a desired result.


We will highlight the differences between decision making of a single agent and interactive decision making, namely, a game. One of the differences is that in the first case we are aiming at getting an optimal decision. In games optimality does not always apply, and the result of games can be dismal even when all parties behave rationally. Israel, which, as the website of this program claims, is the Silicon Valley of Conflict Resolution is also the Death Valley of Frustratingly Unresolved Conflict. The frustration may partly due to the lack of understanding of the fact that in interactive situations good will and rationality do not necessarily guarantee good results.


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