Game Theory for International Accords

Uri Weiss*, Joseph Agassi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Realpolitik is the claim that agreements in international relations are worthless since there is no institution to enforce them. Game theoretician Robert J. Aumann suggests in his 2006 Nobel lecture that “the fundamental insight is that repetition is like an enforcement mechanism.”1 The application of this insight to international relations allows for the improvement of their applicability and it, thus, refutes Realpolitik.Early game theory appeared as an alternative to the social sciences. However, it is better anchored within social science—as a useful tool. This renders game-theoretical recommendations irenic. Aumann argues that there is no a priori reason to expect that the agreement to cooperate in the one-time stage hung game should have practical results.2 We argue that when the norm is to respect agreements, agreements improve cooperation even in one-time stag hunt game. It goes well with the proposal to consider game theory part-and-parcel of social science: how does playing in a given game depend on the culture within which it takes place.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStudies in Systems, Decision and Control
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Number of pages16
StatePublished - 2023

Publication series

NameStudies in Systems, Decision and Control
ISSN (Print)2198-4182
ISSN (Electronic)2198-4190


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