Pierpaolo Battigalli

I am a Professor of Microeconomic Theory and Game Theory, Head of the Department of Decision Sciences of Bocconi University, and (Co)Editor of the J. Econ. Theory. I obtained a first degree (“Laurea”) in Economics and Social Sciences at Bocconi University in 1987 and a PhD in the joint Economics program of Bocconi University, State University of Milan, and Catholic University of Milan in 1992. Before joining Bocconi, I worked at Princeton University and the European University Institute. My work focuses on the decision theoretic, epistemic, psychological, and learning foundations of game theory.

Full Professor
Research interests

Since the inception of my original research in my first-degree thesis, I have always been interested in abstract and applied models of interactive behavior. I adopt and improve on the mathematical language of game theory to put forward and analyze solutions and equilibrium concepts justified by an epistemic or learning foundation, such as different versions of rationalizability and self-confirming (conjectural) equilibrium. I innovate the traditional game theoretic framework in different but related ways. For example, I allow for several forms of belief-dependent utility to incorporate psychological aspects in game theory. This requires to re-think how situations of strategic interactions (games) are represented with a formal mathematical language, because aspects that are neglected in the traditional approach become relevant (e.g. the information of inactive players), and equivalences that were taken for granted are not necessarily valid. Although I lean on the more conceptual aspects of theory, I also do some applied theory and theory-driven experiments.

Selected Publications

I teach game theory to graduate (master) and PhD students. I have also been teaching advanced undergraduate microeconomics, and experimental economics and psychology.

My teaching principles are that I want to make my students master the mathematical language necessary to a rigorous understanding of theory, and I want them to adopt a critical attitude toward the received theory. I teach standard concepts because they are necessary to understand how game theory is applied in economics and other social sciences. But I also question their justification and teach non-standard concept for which I can provide a justification. To the best of my knowledge, some of these concepts (such as self-confirming equilibrium and rationalizability in sequential games and in games of incomplete information) are not explained in any published textbook (they are instead explained in the textbook I am completing, which I use in my courses).