Horizon Academic is thrilled to expand the research options available to students this coming summer with a new course focused on Games, Networks, and Politics within our Labs track. Conducting independent research on game theory and applied economics is becoming increasingly popular among high school students irrespective of their desired academic career path precisely because of its relevance to real-world scenarios. Whether students want to major in business, finance, politics, economics, sociology, and the like, understanding incentives, decision-making, strategy, cooperation, and negotiation helps high school students develop the skills to analyze contemporary problems, predict outcomes, and/or propose solutions that improve the efficiency of socio-economic & socio-political systems and policies.
For students who are curious about this line of research but feel intimidated or overwhelmed by the prospect of endeavoring to pursue the task alone, our instructors are here to guide and encourage you each step of the way. For this course, students will have the pleasure of learning under the mentorship of: 1) Jack, a PhD candidate from CalTech whose work revolves around decisions under uncertainty, with specific work on the Ellsberg Paradox and bargaining games, as well as political accountability & voting, or 2) John Anagnost, a PhD candidate from UCLA who specializes in the application of microeconomic theory and statistics to the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, as well as other public health policy issues. Below, you’ll find the course curriculum they thoughtfully crafted.
Students are welcome to pursue any of the below pre-approved research topics or propose one of their own:
- Games in our everyday lives- studying players, actions and strategies. What is a Nash equilibrium? Two player games studied include the Chicken game, Prisoners’ Dilemma and Battle of the Friends. The Cuban Missile Crisis is taken as a case study.
- Mixing and switching- mixed Nash and sub game perfect Nash equilibria with examples including Matching Pennies and Rubinstein Bargaining. Applications to firm competition- Bertrand versus Cournot competition, and public goods games.
- Repeated Games and reputation, a study of tit for tat and grim trigger. Is it optimal to forgive and forget?
- The theory of auctions- first price auctions and platform examples. A case study of Ebay and Google.
- Networks: what is a network and what are they useful for? How can networks help us understand social media and the convergence of echo chambers?
- Erdos-Renyi and building networks. Modeling social influence, contagion and public goods games on networks. Exploring the Covid-19 pandemic using the SIR disease spread model.
- The median voter theorem. Who is the median voter and how do we find them? If the median voter is the only voter that matters, then why do we have extremist candidates? The pivotal voter theorem. If the chance of having an impact is close to zero, then why do we bother voting?
- Politics and social choices. What are the different ways of making votes count? Does rank choice encourage people to vote more or less strategically? Studying the plurality rule in Westminster versus rank choice in the Republic of Ireland.
- Should we have mandatory voting? What are the advantages and disadvantages? Taking Australia as a case study.