Inducement of Desired Behavior via Soft Policies

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Terms like inducement, incentivization, persuasion, and to some extent enticement, are used in our daily lives to describe situations where one individual (decision maker, or entity) acts in a way to influence the decision-making process of another individual or individuals, where the outcome could benefit all involved or only the one who has initiated the process. Such influence could be exerted in two different ways (though variations do exist): via a direct input by the influencer into the utility or reward (or loss) of the receiving party, or by controlling (and possibly crafting) the information flow to the latter, in an attempt to shape beliefs at the receiving end (as in spread of disinformation). Both scenarios (and those that fall in between) could be analyzed within a dynamic Stackelberg game-theoretic framework, with a precise notion of equilibrium, which this paper addresses. The focus will naturally be on soft inducement (incentivization, persuasion) policies, rather than hard enforcement (such as threat) ones which are not that interesting or practical. This overview paper introduces some explicit models that lead to appealing such policies. It also includes a discussion on the impact of various factors, such as population size and uncertainty in modeling, on the resulting equilibria, and identify several challenges that lie ahead.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2440002
JournalInternational Game Theory Review
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Bayesian persuasion
  • belief shaping
  • dynamic games
  • game theory
  • Incentive design
  • Stackelberg games
  • stochastic games
  • strategic information transmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • General Computer Science
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty


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