Game Theory II Stanford University University of British Columbia

Game Theory II

Welcome to Game Theory II

This course will Start on May 27th.
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Our 4-week advanced course considers how to design interactions between agents in order to achieve good social outcomes. The course -- which is free and open to the public -- considers three main topics: social choice theory (i.e., collective decision making), mechanism design, and auctions. More specifically, in the first week we consider the problem of aggregating different agents' preferences, discussing voting rules and the challenges faced in collective decision making. We present some of the most important theoretical results in the area: notably, Arrow's Theorem, which proves that there is no "perfect" voting system, and also the Gibbard-Satterthwaite and Muller-Satterthwaite Theorems. We move on to consider the problem of making collective decisions when agents are self interested and can strategically misreport their preferences. We explain "mechanism design" -- a broad framework for designing interactions between self-interested agents -- and give some key theoretical results. Our third week focuses on the problem of designing mechanisms to maximize aggregate happiness across agents, and presents the powerful family of Vickrey-Clarke-Groves mechanisms. The course wraps up with a fourth week that considers the problem of allocating scarce resources among self-interested agents, and that provides an introduction to auction theory.
This course is a follow-up to a more basic course in which we provided the foundations to game theory, covering topics such as representing games and strategies, the extensive form, Bayesian games, repeated and stochastic games, and more. Although to a substantial extent our new course stands alone, some of the previous material -- e.g., Bayesian games, Nash equilibrium, and dominant strategies -- is needed for this more advanced course, whether picked up through our previous course or elsewhere.

Instructors: Matthew Jackson, Kevin Leyton-Brown, Yoav Shoham

* Our new course is being offered through Google CourseBuilder. To sign up you need to log in with a Google account. By clicking Allow on the next screen, you're letting us know your email address, but not giving us any other information about your account. Please click on the Register button to continue.

Course Syllabus


Materials: There will be four weeks of materials consisting of online videos and problem sets. We recommend that you complete the problem set for each week within that week, although the hard deadline is two weeks from the release date. On the fifth week, we will have a final exam.


Beyond the hard deadline, you will receive half-scores for any late problem sets completed before the final exam deadline. The problem sets will count for 70 percent of the grade and the final for the remaining 30 percent. For each of the assignment, the scores for only the first attempt will be stored.

Certificates of Completion

Students earning at least 70 percent of the total points will earn a certificate of completion, and those above 90 percent will receive a certificate with distinction.


We will use a Piazza forum for the advanced MOOC course. The link to the forum is If you do not already have a Piazza account, you will need to create one before joining our forum. The access code for the forum will be shown above once you register for the course.

Course Timing

  • Week 1: Social Choice
    Release date May 26, midnight PDT
    Problem Set 1 due date: June 9, midnight PDT
  • Week 2: Mechanism Design
    Release date June 2, midnight PDT
    Problem Set 2 due date: June 16, midnight PDT
  • Week 3: Efficient Mechanisms
    Release date June 9, midnight PDT
    Problem Set 3 due date: June 23, midnight PDT
  • Week 4: Auctions
    Release date June 16, midnight PDT
    Problem Set 4 due date: June 30, midnight PDT
  • Week 5: Final Exam
    Release date June 23, midnight PDT
    Problem Set 5 due date: July 7, midnight PDT