Category Archives: Game Theory

Game Theory 101 (Scalia’s replacement edition)

Check out this excellent essay in the Harvard Business Review in which two academic economists, Avinash Dixit and David McAdams, use game theory to analyze the year-long political impasse over the U.S. Supreme Court. Game theory is a branch of … Continue reading

Posted in Bayesian Reasoning, Economics, Game Theory, Law, Politics | 1 Comment

How are big box stores like Wells Fargo?

Lots of big box retailers like Walmart and Home Depot are ramping up their use of self-scanners in order to reduce their labor costs. That is, instead of waiting in a long line to have a cashier ring up your purchases, you can save … Continue reading

Posted in Bayesian Reasoning, Deception, Ethics, Game Theory, Law, Probability, Web/Tech | 5 Comments

Prisoner’s dilemma everywhere: weekend email from your boss edition

As our friends and fellow “forty-something” bloggers at Cheap Talk like to point out, prisoner dilemmas are everywhere. Suppose you are a junior manager at a large Fortune 500 corporation or a junior attorney/accountant at a firm. Your boss sends … Continue reading

Posted in Cooperation, Deception, Economics, Game Theory | Leave a comment

Game theory: the way forward? (part 3 of 3)

In our previous two posts, we identified a blind spot in the work of John Rawls and Bob Nozick: the problem of betrayal–what game theorists call “defection.” In brief, Rawls’s original agreement might embody timeless principles of justice, and Nozick’s … Continue reading

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Rawls vs. Nozick (part 2 of 3)

In our previous post, we identified a weakness in Rawls’s theory of justice: the possibility of betrayal once the veil of ignorance is lifted. Now, let’s turn to Robert Nozick’s classic tome Anarchy, State, and Utopia (1974), a book Nozick … Continue reading

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A critique of Rawls and Nozick and a new way forward (part 1 of 3)

For the next three posts, we are going to offer a critique of John Rawls’ theory of justice (part 1), followed by a critique of Robert Nozick’s theory of the pre-political state (part 2), and then offer our own alternative … Continue reading

Posted in Cooperation, Game Theory, Law, Philosophy | 1 Comment

Bargaining and Betrayal in Breaking Bad

Last fall, we posted the abstract to our work-in-progress titled “Breaking Bad and the Natural Law Tradition.” Originally, we were going to write about the conflict between meth kingpin Walter White (alias Heisenberg) and DEA agent Hank Schrader from a … Continue reading

Posted in Culture, Ethics, Game Theory, Games, Law | 1 Comment

Applied game theory (A9 chip edition)

Successful firms tend to employ a wide variety of creative strategies for maintaining their “competitive advantage,” i.e. their dominance in a given market without running afoul of antitrust or unfair competition laws. Apple’s A9 chip for the iPhone 6 is … Continue reading

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“The logic of terrorism”

That is the title of our 2012 paper in which we (a) discuss three lessons from the film “The Battle of Algiers” and (b) model conflicts between terrorist groups and counter-insurgent forces as an evolutionary arms race. We will blog more … Continue reading

Posted in Current Affairs, Game Theory | Leave a comment

Coordination Games (Internet “Sabbath” Edition)

Why is there no “Sabbath” or day of rest on the Internet? Would bloggers, Facebook users, Email spammers–i.e. everyone who uses the Internet–be better off if we could all take a day or two of rest from the Internet once … Continue reading

Posted in Cooperation, Game Theory | 1 Comment