Game Theory and Literature

Steven J. Brams

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Applications of game theory to novels, short stories, plays, opera librettos, narrative poems, and the Hebrew Bible are surveyed from both an historical and a critical perspective, based in part on responses to a questionnaire. While some analyses shed light on literary issues, such as the role of emotions or the rationality of character choices that culminate in tragedy, others highlight game-theoretic issues, such as problems of coordinating choices or building reputations when information is incomplete. Several models indicate a sophisticated understanding of plots and character motives, but others are quite trivial or misuse game theory. Fiction writers, too, vary in the intuitive understanding of game theory that they bring to their works. Journal of Economic Literature Classification Number: 026.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)32-54
    Number of pages23
    JournalGames and Economic Behavior
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Jan 1994

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Finance
    • Economics and Econometrics


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