The partial government shutdown as a game of chicken

Update (1/28): Looks like little-hands Trump is the chicken!

prior probability

President Trump wants Congress to fund a border wall; the Democrats, who now have regained control of the House of Representatives, do not want to fund a border wall. Which side will “swerve” first? The Game of Chicken, along with the Prisoner’s Dilemma and the Battle of the Sexes, is one of the ways in which this political conflict can be modeled. Here is the Wikipedia entry for the Game of Chicken; here is a memorable example of Chicken from the movie “Footloose”. Update (6pm): As I replied to Kathy H. in the comments section, I find it fascinating that in this particular case the intransigence of both sides is due to their moralizing of the border wall, which suggests an inverse relationship between the ability to reach a pragmatic compromise and the strength of one’s moral convictions!

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About F. E. Guerra-Pujol

When I’m not blogging, I am a business law professor at the University of Central Florida.
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1 Response to The partial government shutdown as a game of chicken

  1. Kathy H says:

    Here is the problem with the analogy. I don’t believe either side’s believes in their moral arguments. I believe their desire to win “Trumps” (sorry about that) everything. They need a moral argument as a cover. Both sides throw out any erroneous statement to support their position. Some make them up off the top of their head. Some take a statistic and distort it from there. The public at this point does not know the real story about this situation. Also, it is a great diversion so politicians don’t have to address any other real problems. Why worry about Syria, North Korea, health care, etc. when we have this horrendous problem at the border??? UGH.

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