The roles of stories in applying game theory

Journal of Economic Methodology 15 (2):131-146 (2008)
Abstract
Game?theoretic models consist of a formal game structure and an informal model narrative or story. When game theory is employed to model economic situations, the stories play a central role in interpreting, constructing and solving game structures. We analyse the architecture of game theory and distinguish between game models and the theory proper. We present the different functions of the model narrative in the application of game models to economic situations. In particular, we show how model narratives support the choice of solution concepts defined and provided by the theory proper. We further argue that the narrative's role in interpretation, construction and solution makes it a necessary part of a game model that is intended to be a model of an economic situation. We conclude that game theory is not a universal theory of rationality, but only offers tools to model specific situations at varying degrees and kinds of rationality.
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