The authors, two of the most prominent game theorists of this generation, have devoted a number of years to the development of the theory presented here, and to its economic applications. They propose rational criteria for selecting one particular uniformly perfect equilibrium point as the solution of any noncooperative game. And, because any cooperative game can be remodelled as a noncooperative bargaining game, their theory defines a one-point solution for any cooperative game as well.
By providing solutions - based on the same principles of rational behavior - for all classes of games, both cooperative and noncooperative, both those with complete and with incomplete information, Harsanyi and Selten's approach achieves a remarkable degree of theoretical unification for game theory as a whole and provides a deeper insight into the nature of game-theoretic rationality.
The book applies this theory to a number of specific game classes, such as unanimity games; bargaining with transaction costs; trade involving one seller and several buyers; two-person bargaining with incomplete information on one side, and on both sides. The last chapter discusses the relationship of the authors' theory to other recently proposed solution concepts, particularly the Kohberg-Mertens stability theory.
John C. Harsanyi is Flood Research Professor in Business Administration and Professor of Economics, University of California, Berkeley. Reinhard Selten is Professor of Economics Institute of Social and Economic Sciences: University of Bonn, Federal Republic of Germany.
In a complex and uncertain world, humans and animals make decisions under the constraints of limited knowledge, resources, and time. Yet models of rational decision making in economics, cognitive science, biology, and other fields largely ignore these real constraints and instead assume agents with perfect information and unlimited time. About forty years ago, Herbert Simon challenged this view with his notion of "bounded rationality." Today, bounded rationality has become a fashionable term used for disparate views of reasoning.
This book promotes bounded rationality as the key to understanding how real people make decisions. Using the concept of an "adaptive toolbox," a repertoire of fast and frugal rules for decision making under uncertainty, it attempts to impose more order and coherence on the idea of bounded rationality. The contributors view bounded rationality neither as optimization under constraints nor as the study of people?s reasoning fallacies. The strategies in the adaptive toolbox dispense with optimization and, for the most part, with calculations of probabilities and utilities. The book extends the concept of bounded rationality from cognitive tools to emotions; it analyzes social norms, imitation, and other cultural tools as rational strategies; and it shows how smart heuristics can exploit the structure of environments.