Theory of Games and Economic Behavior

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For the mathematical journal with a similar name, see Games and Economic Behavior.
Theory of Games and Economic Behavior
60th anniversary edition, 2004
Author John von Neumann, Oskar Morgenstern
Country United States
Language English
Subject Game theory
Genre Science
Publisher Princeton University Press
Publication date
Media type book
Pages xviii, 625 p. (1st edition)
ISBN ISBN 978-0-691-13061-3 (60th anniversary edition)
OCLC 1629708

Theory of Games and Economic Behavior, published in 1944[1] by Princeton University Press, is a book by mathematician John von Neumann and economist Oskar Morgenstern which is considered the groundbreaking text that created the interdisciplinary research field of game theory. In the introduction of its 60th anniversary commemorative edition from the Princeton University Press, the book is described as "the classic work upon which modern-day game theory is based."

The book is based on earlier research by Neumann, published in 1928 under the German title "Zur Theorie der Gesellschaftsspiele" ("On the Theory of Parlor Games").

The derivation of expected utility from its axioms appeared in an appendix to the Second Edition (1947). Neumann and Morgenstern used objective probabilities, supposing that all the agents had the same probability distribution, as a convenience. However, Neumann and Morgenstern mentioned that a theory of subjective probability could be provided, and this task was completed by Johann Pfanzagl in 1967.[2]


  1. ^ Copeland, A. H. (1945). "Review: Theory of Games and Economic Behavior by John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern". Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. 51 (07): 498–504. doi:10.1090/s0002-9904-1945-08391-8. 
  2. ^ An axiomatization for subjective expected utility appeared in Pfanzagl (1967, 1968) and was endorsed by Morgenstern (1976): "Von Neumann and I have anticipated" the question whether probabilities "might, perhaps more typically, be subjective and have stated specifically that in the latter case axioms could be found from which could derive the desired numerical utility together with a number for the probabilities (c.f. p. 19 of The Theory of Games and Economic Behavior). We did not carry this out; it was demonstrated by Pfanzagl . . . with all the necessary rigor" (page 65).
  • A. H. Copeland: (1945). "Review of 'The Theory of Games and Economic Behavior", Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society 51, pp. 498–504.
  • Leonid Hurwicz (1945). "The Theory of Economic Behavior", American Economic Review 35, p p. 909- 925.
  • Carl Kaysen (1946–47). "A Revolution in Economic Theory?" Review of Economic Studies 14(1), pp. 1–15.
  • Jacob Marschak (1946). "Neumann's and Morgenstern's New Approach to Static Economics", Journal of Political Economy 54, pp. 97–115.
  • Richard Stone (1948). "The Theory of Games", Economic Journal 58, p p. 185– 201.

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