Economic Theory

, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 119–156 | Cite as

Homotopy methods to compute equilibria in game theory

  • P. Jean-Jacques HeringsEmail author
  • Ronald Peeters
Open Access


This paper presents a survey of the use of homotopy methods in game theory. Homotopies allow for a robust computation of game-theoretic equilibria and their refinements. Homotopies are also suitable to compute equilibria that are selected by various selection theories. We present the relevant techniques underlying homotopy algorithms. We give detailed expositions of the Lemke–Howson algorithm and the van den Elzen–Talman algorithm to compute Nash equilibria in 2-person games, and the Herings–van den Elzen, Herings–Peeters, and McKelvey–Palfrey algorithms to compute Nash equilibria in general n-person games. We explain how the main ideas can be extended to compute equilibria in extensive form and dynamic games, and how homotopies can be used to compute all Nash equilibria.


Homotopy Equilibrium computation Non-cooperative games Nash equilibrium 

JEL Classification

C62 C63 C72 C73 


Open Access

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution,and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsMaastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands

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