International Relations 101

Game theory provides a great tool for studying international relations. Countries must act strategically to stay alive and prosper in the international system. This course takes the tools from Game Theory 101 and applies them to war, trade, and international organizations.
The Rationality of War (available on Amazon, $0.99) serves as a complementing guide to some of the lectures.

Take a tour of the world using the links below...

  1. Sovereignty
  2. Anarchy
  3. Proximate versus Underlying Causes
  4. The Strategic World
Conflict versus Cooperation
  1. Overview
  2. The Prisoner's Dilemma
  3. The Cult of the Offensive and the Origins of World War I
  4. Tariffs and the Barriers to Free Trade
  5. Arms Races
  6. The Shadow of the Future
  7. Grim Trigger
Rationalist Explanations for War
  1. The Rationality of War
  2. The Unitary Actor Assumption
  3. War's Inefficiency Puzzle
  4. The Algebraic Bargaining Model of War
  5. War's Bargaining Range
  6. Crisis Bargaining
  7. Preventive War
  8. Information Problems and Incentives to Misrepresent
  9. Issue Indivisibility
  10. Preemptive War
International Trade
  1. Absolute Advantage
  2. Comparative Advantage
  3. Trade Rivalry
  4. Resolving Trade Disputes
  5. The Relative Gains Problem
The Democratic Peace Theory
  1. What Is the Democratic Peace?
  2. Explaining the Democratic Peace
  3. Correlation versus Causation
  4. The McDonald's Peace Theory
  5. The Capitalist Peace
  6. The Rise of China
Principal-Agent Problems and Leader-Based Explanations
  1. What Are Principal-Agent Problems?
  2. Diversionary War
  3. Gambling for Resurrection
  4. Democratic Accountability
  5. Leader Retirement
  6. Peace through Instability and Fighting for Survival
  7. Bargaining and Leaders
  8. Pandering (to Ohio and Florida)
The United Nations Security Council
  1. Background
  2. Veto Power
  3. Insincere Voting, Outside Options, Libya, and Syria
  4. Bribery
  5. The Rally 'Round the Flag Effect
Public Goods Provision
  1. What Is a Public Good?
  2. Monitoring Institutions
  3. Collective Action Problems
  4. Hegemonic Provision of Public Goods
  5. Issue Linkage