• Class Number 7529
  • Term Code 3160
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Sander Heinsalu
    • Dr Sander Heinsalu
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 26/07/2021
  • Class End Date 29/10/2021
  • Census Date 14/09/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/08/2021
SELT Survey Results

In many - perhaps most – economic, political, legal and social interactions, there is potential for strategic behaviour, a term, “intended to focus on the interdependence of the adversaries' decisions and on their expectations about each other's behaviour.” (Schelling, 1960, The Strategy of Conflict).   Recognising and understanding such behaviour is an essential part of any analyst’s toolkit and this course is designed to enable just such recognition and understanding. Game theory has successfully been applied in a diverse range of fields, such as economics, political science, military analysis, law, biology and computer science.

The aim of this course is to provide an introduction to strategic thinking and analysis through the basic techniques of game theory and to illustrate the range of its applications in almost all fields of social interaction.  While the level of the course will be introductory, and mathematical prerequisites are minimal, the presentation of the material will rely on precise logical arguments.  This course should be of interest to students from any part of the University.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of how game theorists approach a strategic problem.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the tools taught in class and be able to recognise their application to the analysis of real world situations.
  3. Recognise the strategic issues in a problem and demonstrate an understanding of how a game theorist might decide on the appropriate tools to analyse it.

Research-Led Teaching

The lecturer is an applied game theorist. Students will learn about the use of game theory and strategic thinking in current economics research through various applications, time permitting.

Tadelis, S. (2013) Game theory : an introduction. Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691129082

Watson, J. (2013), Strategy: an introduction to game theory 3e. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-91838-0.

Osborne, M. (2009), An introduction to game theory Intn’l Ed. Oxford UP. ISBN 978-0-19-532248-4.

The textbooks are available in the ANU library and free online libraries. Osborne is not available as an e-book but requests were lodged in Semester 1, 2021 with the ANU Library to acquire e-book versions - more information will be made available through Wattle as it becomes known.

Any older editions of these books will do. Students will be supplied with a set of selected readings and copies of most of the lecture slides as we proceed.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

We will provide a verbal review of each tutorial exercise and a review of the quizzes (in tutorial time) and thus feedback to the class as a whole. Online questions will either be answered in the Wattle site forum or discussed in class. In-class questions will be discussed in class.

Individual feedback will be provided in consultation hours upon request.

The Wattle site contains a forum for discussion and feedback.

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information


All students attend a one hour tutorial starting in the second week. Enrolment in tutorials will be completed online. There will be face-to-face tutorials for on-campus students and online options for off-campus students.

The first tutorial will take place during the second week of class. Tutorial exercises are designed to apply and reinforce the principles taught in lectures. Tutorial questions will be available on Wattle at least a day before the tutorial. You must attempt the tutorial problems before attending the tutorial. You will only learn problem-solving skills (necessary to pass the course) through active practice, not by simply writing down answers from tutorials. You learn by doing.


Students taking this course are expected to commit at least 10 hours a week on average to completing the work, comprising:

·        2 hours a week of lectures

·        1 hour a week of tutorial

·        7+ hours a week: reading, writing and tutorial preparation Some weeks will demand less time than this; some more.


Your final mark for the course will be based on the raw marks allocated for each assignment or examination. However, your final mark may not be the same number as produced by that formula, as marks may be scaled by the RSE or CBE Examiners' Meeting. Any scaling applied will preserve the rank order of raw marks (i.e. if your raw mark exceeds that of another student, then your scaled mark will exceed the scaled mark of that student), and may be either up or down.

Technology, Software, Equipment

I plan to use Wattle extensively and as my main means of getting material to you: https://wattlecourses.anu.edu.au/. Please ensure that you have access and that you check it regularly.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Prisoners’ dilemma. Coordination. Components of normal form games and extensive form games. Dominance and iterative deletion. Applications: auctions, collusion. Reading W: 1-3, 6-7, T: 1-4.
2 Best response and rationalizability. Nash equilibrium. Application: imperfect competition. Reading W: 7-10, T: 4. 'Weekly' quiz #1/8.
3 Nash equilibrium applications. Pricing by vertically and horizontally differentiated firms. Quality and exit. Reading W: 10, T: 5. 'Weekly' quiz #2/8.
4 Mixed strategies. Zero sum games. Applications: sports, auditing tax evasion, reporting crime, war. Reading W: 11-12, T: 6. 'Weekly' quiz #3/8.
5 Evolutionarily stable strategies. Mutation spread. Group competition. Reading Osborne Chapter 13, especially 13.1-13.2. 'Weekly' quiz #4/8.
6 Sequential games. Backward induction. Commitment. Reading W: 21, T: 7-8. 'Midterm quiz'
7 Games of perfect information. Credibility, reputation. Games against oneself within the mind of an irrational decider; temptation and self-control. Reading W: 21, T: 7-8.
8 Bargaining. Imperfect information, information sets, subgame perfect equilibria. Reading W: 19, 14-15, T: 11, 9. 'Weekly' quiz #5/8.
9 Applications of subgame perfect equilibrium. War of attrition. Contracts and work effort. Hold-up of investment. Reading W: 16, 21, T: 11, Osborne: 7. 'Weekly' quiz #6/8.
10 Repeated games. Cooperation in repeated prisoners’ dilemma. Cartels. Reading W: 22, 23, T: 10-11. 'Weekly' quiz #7/8.
11 Static games of incomplete information. Perfect Bayesian Equilibrium. Application: adverse selection, auctions. Reading W: 24-27, T: 12-13, Osborne: 9. 'Weekly' quiz #8/8.
12 Dynamic games of incomplete information. Applications: signalling, cheap talk. Reading W: 28-29, T: 15-18. 'Final' quiz during the exam period.

Tutorial Registration

Tutorials will be delivered both remotely and on-campus F2F. Signup for tutorials will be available on the Wattle course site in O-week with further details.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Learning Outcomes
Eight 'weekly' online quizzes 80 % 1,2,3
'Midterm' and 'final' quizzes submitted online 20 % 1,2,3

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Due to travel restrictions, this course will be largely delivered through online platforms.?Aspects of the delivery will be asynchronous, but there will be synchronous activities also taking place (both online and on-campus) providing an opportunity for students to engage with the teaching staff in a live manner. Details of the delivery of this course and expectations of student participation will be outlined in further detail on the Wattle course site in O-week. Attendance at synchronous activities, while not compulsory, is expected in line with “Code of Practice for Teaching and Learning”, clause 2 paragraph (b). In addition, tutorials are a discussion-based class. Students are expected to attempt to solve the tutorial exercises before the tutorial. Students who are unable to attend a tutorial are expected to solve the exercises and attend a consultation session to discuss their answers.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 80 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Eight 'weekly' online quizzes

Eight (8) times during the semester there will be an online quiz covering the material of all previous weeks, of course weighted towards the material not covered in previous assessments. Each will be worth 10 points and will count for 10% of your course grade. The quizzes will be made available at a pre-specified time (to be determined in consultation with students in week one), will be time-limited to one hour and you will be able to attempt them once only. You will not be able to navigate backward to earlier questions. Instructions will be provided in the quizzes. No late submission is accepted. Quiz answers will be provided at the close of the quiz. Solutions will be discussed in the tutorials following. Individual feedback will be provided in consultation sessions.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

'Midterm' and 'final' quizzes submitted online

Two (2) times during the semester there will be a written quiz to be scanned and submitted online, covering the material of all previous weeks. These quizzes consist of solving longer exercises similar to those covered in lectures and tutorials. Each quiz will be worth 10 points and will count for 10% of your course grade. These will be made available at a pre-specified time, will be time-limited to one hour and you will be able to attempt them once only. You will not be able to navigate backward to earlier questions. Instructions will be provided in the quizzes. No late submission is accepted. 'Midterm' quiz answers will be provided at the close of the quiz, solutions will be discussed in the tutorials following and individual feedback will be provided in consultation sessions.

The ANU requirement for the final assessment to be after the teaching weeks means that the 'final' quiz is during the exam period and no solutions to it will be provided. Its mark will be released on the final grade release date.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.

The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

All assessments as described in the Assessment Task section above.

Hardcopy Submission


Late Submission

No submission of assessment tasks after the due date will be permitted. If an assessment task is not submitted by the due date, a mark of 0 will be awarded.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

It is intended that each 'weekly' quiz will be returned in tutorials in the week following its completion, the 'midterm' quiz within two weeks of its completion. The 'final' quiz results will be released on the exam result release date.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments


Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr Sander Heinsalu

Research Interests

Game theory, microeconomics

Dr Sander Heinsalu

Tuesday 17:00 18:00
Tuesday 17:00 18:00
Dr Sander Heinsalu

Research Interests

Dr Sander Heinsalu

Tuesday 17:00 18:00
Tuesday 17:00 18:00

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions