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Mini-Courses Archive


We periodically invite to campus distinguished scholars to give mini-courses on a topic of current interest. These mini-courses are open to all members of the Northwestern community as well as visitors from other Colleges and Universities.

Vincent Crawford, Drummond Professor of Political Economy at the University of Oxford,will present a mini-course on �Level-k Thinking: Theory, Evidence, and Applications� during his visit to Northwestern in April.

The first lecture will be Tuesday, April 18, 2017.
11:00am-12:30pm - Global Hub #2130.

In the first lecture, Vince will review his work on mechanism design with k-level thinking in this lecture (reading 1 below).

In the second lecture, Friday, April 21, 11:00am-12:30pm, Global Hub #5101, Vince will review various kinds of evidence on k-level thinking in games (readings 2-6 below).


1. Vincent P. Crawford. �Efficient Mechanisms for Level-k Bilateral Trading�

2. Vincent P. Crawford, Miguel A. Costa-Gomes, and Nagore Iriberri. 2013. �Structural Models of Nonequilibrium Strategic Thinking: Theory, Evidence, and Applications,� Journal of Economic Literature, 51(1): 5�62

3. Costa-Gomes, Miguel A., Vincent P. Crawford, and Bruno Broseta. 2001. �Cognition and Behavior in Normal-Form Games: An Experimental Study.� Econometrica 69 (5): 1193�1235.

4. Costa-Gomes, Miguel A., and Vincent P. Crawford. 2006. �Cognition and Behavior in Two-Person Guessing Games: An Experimental Study.� American Economic Review 96 (5): 1737�1768.

5. Brocas, Isabelle, Juan D. Carrillo, Stephanie W. Wang, Colin F. Camerer. 2014. �Imperfect Choice or Imperfect Attention? Understanding Strategic Thinking in Private Information Games.� Review of Economic Studies 81 (3): 944-970.

6. Wang, Joseph, Michael Spezio, and Colin F. Camerer. 2010. �Pinocchio's Pupil: Using Eyetracking and Pupil Dilation to Understand Truth Telling and Deception in Sender-Receiver Games� American Economic Review 100 (3): 984-1007.

Slides for the mini-course are available here.

There are four slide decks for the mini-course:
1. Efficient mechanisms for level-k bilateral trading
2. A level-k model for games with asymmetric information
3. Measuring cognition in economic decisions: How and why? II: Studying cognition via information search in game experiments
4. Structural and nonparametric econometrics

Vince plans to discuss deck (1) on Tuesday, April 18, and decks (2)-(4) on Friday, April 21.


There are two "teachers" in the 2014-15 series: Alessandro Arlotto, Professor of Economics at Duke University, and Matthew Rabin, Professor of Behavioral Economics at Harvard.

Alessandro Arlotto's mini-course in bandit models

Click here for the syllabus.

Three lectures starting January 12
Time: 10:00-12:00
Classroom: Jacobs G43

Monday, January 12
Wednesday, January 14
Friday, January 16

Matthew Rabin's course on "Errors in Statistical Reasoning: Evidence, Models, Implications."

Please click here for the reading list.

Monday, May 18
Jacobs 1246

Wednesday, May 20
Jacobs 160

Friday, May 22
Jacobs 1246



There are two "teachers" in the Spring 2013 series: John List, Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, and Álvaro José Riascos Villegas, Professor of Economics at Universidad de los Andes and Executive, Quantil.

Álvaro J.R. Villegas's mini-course: Logic and Game Theory

3 lectures starting May 20


There is a long tradition in mathematical logic (at least since Hintikka in the 1950s) of using games as a way of defining truth of mathematical sentences. This is an alternative approach to the classical compositional semantics definition of truth due to Tarski. Besides a few very preliminary research topics in which the author has been working we shall discuss informally the main ideas of this literature: the semantic game, the separation game and the model existence game in propositional, first order and IF logic. The idea is that by learning how logicians have used game theory for the advancement of mathematical logic, we can gain insights and learn some basic tools that may be useful for studying the logic and language of game theory.

Monday, May 20
Jacobs G43


Introduction to games in logic: (1) The semantic game in predicative, first order and IF logic. (2) The separation game in first order logic. (3). The model existence game in first order logic.

Tuesday, May 21
Jacobs G43


On falsiability and empirical content: a discussion based on Chambers, Echenique and Shmaya (2013): The Axiomatic Structure of Empirical Content.

Wednesday, May 22
Jacobs 101


Research topics: (1) A formalization of the problem of identification in General Equilibrium (2) The logic of rational play.


Lecture Notes on Games and Logic. Tulemheimo, T (2007). Department of Philosophy, University of Helsinki.

Models and Games.  Vaananen, J (2011). Cambridge University Press.

Independence Friendly Logic: A Game Theoretic Approach. Mann, A., Sandu, G., Sevenster, M. 2011. Cambridge University Press.

Equilibrium semantics of languages of imperfect information. Sandu, G., Sevenster, M. 2010. Annals of Pure and Applied Logic.

Chambers, Echenique and Shmaya (2013): The Axiomatic Structure of Empirical Content.

John List's Mini-Course: "Field Experiments in Economics"
May 13, 14 and 15

Content: The course presents lectures on how to use field experiments in economics and summarizes recent research. It will consist of three lectures over three days.

The Syllabus contains the reading lists for each of the lectures.

Outline of the course

Monday, May 13
Jacobs G42

Introduction to field experiments in economics, randomization, and simple rules of thumb for design

Tuesday, May 14
Jacobs G42

The Economics of Charitable Giving

Wednesday, May 15
Accounting Dept.  seminar room (6234 Jacobs)

Audience Choice: 

1. Field Experiments in education
2. On why men are paid more than women
3. On using field experiments in firms
4. Using field experiments to understand the economics of crime


The 'teacher' in the spring 2012 series will be Professor Tayfun Sönmez, Professor of Economics at Boston College. His mini-course will be on market design.

TayfunSönmez' Mini-Course: "Matching Markets: Theory and Practice"

The Syllabus contains the course description, lecture topics, and reading lists

The Survey contains background reading for 3 of the 4 lectures.

Most of Prof. Sönmez' papers for the course can be downloaded from his webpage

4 lectures starting May 14

Monday, May 14
Jacobs G43


House Allocation & Housing Markets

Tuesday, May 15

Jacobs G43

Kidney Exchange

Wednesday, May 16
Jacobs G43
School Matching

Thursday, May 17
Jacobs G43
Cadet-Branch Matching


The 'teacher' in the spring 2011 series will be Professor Andrew Caplin, Co-Director, Center for Experimental Social Science, New York University. His mini-course will be on economics and psychology.

Andrew Caplin's Mini-Course: "Decision Theory, Psychology, and Enriched Choice Data"

3 lectures starting May 17

Tuesday, May 17
Jacobs G43
"Anxiety or Surprise? The Need for Data Enrichment "
Reading List

Wednesday, May 18
Jacobs G43
"The Axiomatic Approach to Enriched Choice Data: Two Examples"
Reading List

Thursday, May 19

Jacobs 166
"Mis-perception and Stochastic Choice: Theory and Tests"
Supplementary Material: Part One and Part Two


There are two "teachers" in the Fall 2009 series: Benny Moldovanu, Chair of Economic Theory II, University of Bonn, who is visiting the CET and Math Center, and Matthew Jackson, Eberle Professor of Economics, Stanford University.

Benny Moldovanu's Mini-Course: "Dynamic Mechanism Design"

6 lectures starting Sept. 30
Mon & Weds 12:00-1:30
Mon in Jacobs G44; Weds in Jacobs G43
Reading List

The mini-course will survey several recent developments in dynamic mechanism design. Topics included: sequential assignment models and order statistics, queueing models, continuous-time revenue management models, dynamic Clarke-Groves-Vickrey mechanisms, Bayesian learning and implementation, and mechanism design with interdependent values.

Matthew Jackson's Mini-Course: "Network Formation and Patterns of Behavior"

3 lectures starting Nov. 16
Mon, Tues & Weds 12:10-1:10

Mon & Weds in Jacobs G42; Tues in Jacobs G27
Reading List

The mini-course will provide an overview of some recent research on social network formation as well as how network patterns of interactions affect behavior. This includes discussion of recent models of network formation combining random and strategic approaches, as well as studies of how network structure affects learning, both Bayesian and non-Bayesian, and theoretical and empirical studies of other behavioral contagions and diffusion.



Paul Milgrom's Mini-Course: "Auction Consulting: Practical Uses of Economics and Game Theory"

Tuesday, Oct. 7
"Advising bidders: how economic and game theoretic analysis has led to superior bidder performance"

Time: 4:00-5:00pm
Jacobs Center Room G42

Tuesday, Oct. 14
"Advising designers: how economic and game theoretic analysis continues to influence government auctioneers"
Time: 4:00-5:00pm
Jacobs Center Room G42

Yuliy Sannikov's Mini-Course: "Dynamic Games in Continuous Time"

Monday, Oct. 27
Time: 1:00-3:00pm
Jacobs Center Room 2245

Wednesday, Oct. 29
Jacobs Center Room G43


The inaugural 'teacher' in the series is Professor Arthur Robson of Simon Fraser University. Robson is the Canada Research Chair in Economic Theory and Evolution and Fellow of the Econometric Society. His mini-course will be on economics and evolution.

Course Schedule:

Monday March 10
Jacobs Center Room G45

Tuesday March 11
Jacobs Center Room G45

Wednesday March 12
3:30 to 5:00pm
Jacobs Center Room G36

Thursday March 13
Jacobs Center Room G45

Friday March 14
Jacobs Center Room G43

Topics will be based on these readings:

        Robson, A.J. "The Biological Basis of Economic Behavior," J. Econ. Lit. 29 (2001), 11-33.
        Robson, A.J. "Evolution and Human Nature," J. Econ. Perspectives 16 (2002), 89-106.

        Robson, A.J. "Why Would Nature Give Individuals Utility Functions?," J. Polit. Econ. 109 (2001), 900-914.
        Rayo, L., and Becker, G. "Evolutionary Efficiency and Happiness," University of Chicago WP (2005).

        Bergstrom, T.C "Storage for Good Times and Bad: Of Rats and Men," UCSB WP (2005).
        Cooper W. S., R. H. Kaplan. 1982. Adaptive "coin-flipping": a decision-theoretic examination of natural selection for random individual variation. Journal of Theoretical Biology. 94:135--151.
        Grafen, A. "Formal Darwinism, the individual-as-maximizing-agent analogy and bet-hedging," Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 266, 799-803.
        Karni, E. and Schmeidler, D. "Self-Preservation as a Foundation of Rational Behavior Under Risk," J. Econ. Behav. Organ. 1986, 7, 71-82.
        Robson, A.J. "A Biological Basis for Expected and Non-Expected Utility," J. Econ. Theory, 1996, 68, 397-424.
        Robson, A.J. "The Evolution of Attitudes to Risk: Lottery Tickets and Relative Wealth," Games Econ. Behav. 1996, 14, 190-207.

        Bergstrom, T.C. "On the Evolution of Altruistic Rules for Siblings," Amer. Econ. Rev. 1995, 85, 58-81.
        Bergstrom, T.C. "Economics in a Family Way," J. Econ. Lit. 1996, 34, 1903-1934.

        Dasgupta, P. and Maskin, E. "Uncertainty and Hyperbolic Discounting," Amer. Econ. Rev. 1995, 95, 1290-1299.
        Hansson, I. and Stuart, C. "Malthusian Selection of Preferences," Amer. Econ. Rev. 1990, 80, 529-544.
        Robson, A and Samuelson L "The Evolution of Intertemporal Preferences", American Economic Review 97 (2007), 496-500.
        _________________________"The Evolution of Impatience with Aggregate Uncertainty" WP, Yale and SFU
        Robson, A.J. and Szentes, B. "Evolution of Time Preference by Natural Selection: Comment''  American Economic Review forthcoming.
        Robson, A.J., Szentes, B., and Iantchev, E. "On the Evolution of Time Preference," Chicago WP (2006)
        Rogers, A. "Evolution of Time Preference by Natural Selection," Amer. Econ. Rev. 1994, 84, 460-481.

        Sozou, P. "On Hyperbolic Discounting and Uncertain Hazard Rates," Proceedings of the Royal Society of London: Series B 265 (1998), 2015-2020.

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