Tit for tat

Tit for tat is a famous game theory strategy in repeat games. It consists of cooperating on the first move, then subsequently copying the other player’s move. It is also supposed to be a forgiving strategy; otherwise, a single defection could generate an unending cycle of mutual defections. Assuming the current conflict between the United States and Iran can be modeled as a repeat game, such as an Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma, then the key question is: which side is most likely to forgive a previous defection or act of retaliation from the other side?

“Trembling Hand” Update (1/11): The Iranian government has confessed to accidently shooting down a commercial Ukranian jetliner.

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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2 Responses to Tit for tat

  1. Craig says:

    I think it’s been demonstrated that the US was willing to forgive previous “defections” — but US also has unreasonable expectations about Iran forgetting past US “defections”. They are playing some kind of blended game where the short-term is tit-for-tat but the long-term takes history into account. For the US, long-term starts only about the time the last Shah went down; for Iran, long-term goes back to the early 1900’s.

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