- The Oxford Handbook of Analytical Sociology
- List of Figures
- List of Tables
- About the Contributors
- What is Analytical Sociology All About? An Introductory Essay
- Analytical Sociology and Theories of the Middle Range
- Social Dynamics from the Bottom Up: Agent-Based Models of Social Interaction
- Segregation Dynamics
- Self-Fulfilling Prophecies
- Social Influence: The Puzzling Nature of Success in Cultural Markets
- The Contagiousness of Divorce
- Collective Action
- Conditional Choice
- Network Dynamics
- Threshold Models of Social Influence
- Time and Scheduling
- Homophily and the Focused Organization of Ties
- Dominance Hierarchies
- Game Theory
- Analytic Ethnography
- Historical Sociology
- Name Index
- Subject Index
Abstract and Keywords
This article considers how game theory can be simultaneously deployed as a tool for framing questions and for formal analytical investigation of the relationship between micro-level decisions and macro-level outcomes. It first provides an overview of some basic concepts of game theory before turning to evolutionary game theory and its most salient features, including the concept of equilibrium. It then examines behavioral game theory and presents examples of how game theory has been used in the field of sociology for the purposes of thinking and for the derivation of system-level outcomes. It also reviews studies that have used game theory in a more formal way in order to derive aggregate distributions from a social system comprising interacting agents and to explain aggregate outcomes. Finally, it describes various applications of evolutionary games and suggests that evolutionary game theory may provide an especially fecund tool for sociologists.
Keywords: game theory, micro-level decisions, macro-level outcomes, evolutionary game theory, equilibrium, behavioral game theory, sociology, aggregate distributions, aggregate outcomes, evolutionary games
Richard Breen is Professor of Sociology at Yale University. He received his Ph.D. in social anthropology from the University of Cambridge. He has previously held faculty positions at Nuffield College, University of Oxford, the European University Institute, and the Queen’s University, Belfast. He has also held research positions at the Economic and Social Research Institute, and was Director of the Centre for Social Research at the Queen’s University, Belfast. His research interests are social stratification and inequality, and the application of formal models in the social sciences.
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