Using Squid Game to Teach Game Theory

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This paper uses Netflix’s dystopian Korean-language drama series Squid Game (2021) to illustrate an active learning technique to support the teaching of game theory in undergraduate courses. The series is chosen because it demonstrates different games with which the characters have to engage as part of the narrative. Geerling, Mateer and Addler (2020) show that using popular films in class is an effective way to introduce and motivate the deeper learning of core game theory concepts. We build on this work by providing instructors with a menu of quick teaching scenes and extended teaching guides, from which they can freely select and adapt to their particular needs. These resources provide summaries of the scenes, links to the clips, key concepts, and assessment questions. This teaching material is suitable for use in both principles-level courses, where game theory is first introduced, and advanced-level courses.

Wayne Geerling, Kristofer Nagy, Elaine Rhee, Nicola Thomas, and Jadrian Wooten


Geerling, W., Nagy, K., Rhee, E., Thomas, N., & Wooten, J. (2023). Using Squid Game to Teach Game Theory. Journal of Economics Teaching, 8(1), 47-63. DOI: 10.58311/jeconteach/2dfaffe5f7d50d5513a89ae4be17f4d9ff8cc3f3