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6 J. Conflict Resol. 1 (1962)

handle is hein.journals/jcfltr6 and id is 1 raw text is: 







Game theory and models of negotiation


HAROLD W. KUHN
Departments of Economics and Mathematics, Princeton University


  On   October  7, 1961  a conference  de-
voted to the Applications of Game  Theory
to Negotiation was held  at Princeton Uni-
versity under the auspices of the Institute
for Defense Analyses and with  the support
of the Carnegie  Corporation.  In addition
to open discussion' of the problems of for-
mulating a mathematical  model of negotia-
tion, the meeting considered summaries  of
three papers prepared by Fred C. Ikl6, John
C. Harsanyi, and Dean   G. Pruitt. Revised
versions of these papers are included in this
special issue of the Journal of Conflict Res-
olution. It is the  main  purpose  of this
editorial note to explain  the context  in
which  they arose. As such, it also provides
the issue editor with a forum in which he
may  set forth the views of a mathematician
on the potential applications of game the-
ory to international negotiation.
  When   game   theory and  game  theorists
have  entered the domain of the social sci-
ences they have been subjected to a variety
of attacks. However  diverse the source of
these attacks, they seem to dwell  on two
main  themes. The  first of these is typified
by  Schelling when  he  writes that game

  'The  following scientists contributed to the
conference:  Robert J.  Aumann,  Lawrence
Fouraker, Fred Ikl6, John C. Harsanyi, Harold
W.  Kuhn, R. Duncan Luce, Koichi Miyasawa,
Oskar  Morgenstern,  Dean  Pruitt, Howard
Raiffa, Robert Reichardt, Reinhard Selten, L.
S. Shapley.


theory may  have missed its most promising
field by being  pitched at too  abstract a
level (Schelling, 1960, p. 119). Here, and
elsewhere, he has argued that game  theory
has overshot the level at which  the most
fruitful work may  be done  by abstracting
away  such essential ingredients as systems
of communication  and enforcement.  A sec-
ond main  line of criticism is represented by
Maccoby   when  he  asserts that although
the  game   theorist will argue  that  his
method  demands   isolating some variables
and pretending for the sake of clarity that
others remain more or less constant, he does
not always appreciate the power of his hid-
den variables. In particular, the full social
and  psychological consequences . . . have
not been  sufficiently studied (Maccoby,
1961, p.  280).  It is not the purpose  of
this article to contest either of these points
of view, since there is considerable justice
in both  of them.   Rather our  aim  is to
point to directions in which the theory may
develop so as to answer them.
  Since some  of the criticism of game the-
ory as  applied to the behavioral sciences
seems  to stem from a misunderstanding  of
what the theory of games comprises, it may
be useful to start from a definition which
was framed  on another occasion (Kuhn and
Tucker):

  The Theory of Games is a branch of mathe-
matics that aims to analyse various problems of

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