Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Public Policy invites all to the Strategic Decision Making for Public Managers executive education course by Assistant Professor Omer Baris on April 1-2, 2021 in an online format. 

Please download the course brochure here

Course: Strategic Decision Making for Public Managers

Instructor: Assistant Professor Omer Baris

Price per participant: 82 000 KZT

Civil servants and organizations sending more than five participants qualify for discounts.

Registration form:

Course description:
Game Theory has become the richest and most preferred method of analyzing interactions among people, businesses, and public policy. From politics to economic decisions, interdependency in decision-making and its impact on developing strategies makes Game Theory more relevant than ever.

This course uses the tools of game theory to study strategic behavior in real-world situations with a special emphasis on public policy and public management. It is based on real world cases and examples from everyday life, sport, military operations, government actions in a wide variety of policy areas, from energy to environment policy and from regulations to tax policy to illustrate the reach of game theory and decision theory as tools for strategic analysis. We use game theoretic approaches to
analyze typical public policy problems and extend this knowledge to more complex policy issues including, but not limited to, competition, taxation, R&D, political accountability, control of corruption, and voting behavior.

Course aims:
1. Examine the fundamentals of strategic thinking, individual choice and collective decision making,
2. Identify key determinants of economic, political, and social interactions in public policy,
3. Understand basic theories of decision making under risk and uncertainty with application to public finance, insurance, and social welfare.
4. Identify the value of information and evaluate the implications of asymmetric information in public policy in order to improve the social, economic and environmental outcomes of populations

Course learning outcomes:
1. Use the fundamental tools of game theory in multi-player games,
2. Distinguish between individual decision making and strategic interactions,
3. Gain the skills needed to analyze complicated information problems,
4. Identify zero-sum and non-zero-sum outcomes, typical Prisoner’s’ Dilemma situations, and opportunities for sustained cooperation
5. Describe the role of incentives in policy-making. 

Teaching and learning activities and methods:
Highly interactive – inter alia, case studies, and simplified games,

Language of teaching: English with Russian translation



Session 1. Introduction to Game Theory
An introduction to fundamental tools of decision theory, basic classification of games, sequential and simultaneous games and the role of risk and uncertainty; the value of information. We will introduce
main tools of game theory through short cases and examples.
Session 2. Strategic Interaction
We will analyze basic components of strategic interaction through classic examples: how to anticipate, react, coordinate and even cooperate, and understand the rationale of strategic moves. We will discuss the predictive power of game theory and how unpredictability matters for strategic interaction.
Session 3. Value of Information
In this session we will focus on the strategic use of information and cover the main concepts of the economics of information and illustrate their reach in understanding markets and organizations. Several examples will be used to discuss issues in public policy that arise due to asymmetric information, hidden action, moral hazard and adverse selection.


Session 1. Cooperation, Coordination and Commitments
We will use several examples to understand the role of commitments, credibility and reputation; sustaining cooperation, and using public policy as a coordination mechanism.
Session 2. Incentive Compatibility and Policy Design
We will analyze how one can design incentives through optimal contract, and the extent to which people react to incentives; illustration will be provided from the literature and real-life cases.
Session 3. Cooperative Games and Bargaining
We will focus on how to predict the outcome of bargaining and negotiation, and the role of time in strategic interactions.

Faculty and staff:
Omer F. Baris joined the Graduate School of Public Policy at Nazarbayev University in 2013. He received his PhD in economics with a specialization in public economics from Andrew Young School of Public Policy of Georgia State University in 2012. He taught economics and game theory at the public policy schools of Georgia State University and the Georgia Institute of Technology, both located in Atlanta, Georgia in the United States of America. His fields of teaching and research include
microeconomic theory, game theory and bargaining, individual and social choice, political economy, philosophy of economics, behavioral economics and behavioral public policy. His papers appeared in World Development, Theory and Decision, Managerial and Decision Economics, Cornell International Law Journal, and Economic Papers. Recently Omer has been working on behavioral public choice, inspection and compliance to environmental regulations, corruption and anti-corruption policies, and good governance in Central Asia.