Journal of Applied Mathematics

Experimental Game Theory and Its Application in Sociology and Political Science

Publishing date
24 Apr 2015
Submission deadline
05 Dec 2014

Lead Editor

1University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands

2Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands

3Florida State University, Tallahassee, USA

Experimental Game Theory and Its Application in Sociology and Political Science


Game theory, laboratory experiments, and field experiments are common tools in many social sciences. Applications in sociology and political science remain scarce and scattered, however. Yet, the combination of game theory with controlled experiments provides a powerful tool to better understand social and political processes. The structure offered by game theory and the control offered by an experimental environment allow the researcher to isolate sociological and/or political phenomena to study their development and their effects. The relationship between game theory and experiments is twofold. On the one hand, game theory provides solid ground on which to design an experiment and a formal benchmark that serves as a measuring rod for a structured analysis of observed behavior. On the other hand, experiments can be used to test equilibrium predictions and to pinpoint shortcomings of theory as well as to point to directions in which it can be adapted.

We invite authors to submit original research and review articles that seek to study sociological or political phenomena using laboratory or field experiments that are based on game-theoretical benchmarks. Mathematical rigor will be appreciated. We especially invite articles providing explicit theoretical backing for the hypotheses to be tested. We also welcome papers that use behavior observed in experiments to modify such benchmarks.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • The role of trust and reciprocity within and between social groups
  • The origins and evolution of human cooperation
  • Explaining solidarity amongst strangers
  • Causes and consequences of exploitation and power asymmetries
  • The emergence of social networks through strategic network formation
  • The stability of social networks when there is a conflict of interests
  • Coevolution of networks and behavior in strategic settings
  • The effects of information on voter turnout
  • Strategic voting in committees
  • Strategic lobbying
  • Party entry in proportional representation and winner-takes-all elections
  • Other applications of experimental game theory in sociology or political science
  • Applications of mathematical modeling as an underpinning of experiments in sociology or political science
Journal of Applied Mathematics
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