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Dominant Strategy

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PPGPortal > Home > Concept Dictionary > D, E > Dominant Strategy

Dominant Strategy (In Game Theory)

In game theory, a dominant strategy exists for a given player if the same choice is optimal for him regardless of what the other players choose to do.

(Dwayne Benjamin, Toronto PPG 1002H)


In a situation in which the same strategy is optimal regardless of the other players' action, we would expect a rational self-interested actor to follow the dominant strategy in every iteration of a game in which one exists.

 A prominent example of a dominant strategy in game theory is the decision to “defect” in the famous “prisoner’s dilemma” game.  In the “prisoner’s dilemma,” each individual is better off if he defects, regardless of what the other player does.




Definition prepared by students at the University of Toronto School of Public Policy and Governance and edited by Ben Eisen.


Important Notices
© University of Toronto 2008
School of Public Policy and Governance