The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Extensive Form Games

  • Eric Van Damme
Reference work entry


The most general model used to describe conflict situations is the extensive form model, which specifies in detail the dynamic evolution of each situation and thus provides an exact description of ‘who knows what when’ and ‘what is the consequence of which’. The model should contain all relevant aspects of the situation; in particular, any possibility of (pre)commitment should be explicitly included. This implies that the game should be analysed by solution concepts from noncooperative game theory, that is, refinements of Nash equilibria. The term extensive form game was coined in von Neumann and Morgenstern (1944) in which a set theoretic approach was used. We will describe the graph theoretical representation proposed in Kuhn (1953) that has become the standard model. For convenience, attention will be restricted to finite games.

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric Van Damme
    • 1
  1. 1.