about me
game theory
... more
Subscribe Weblog

Avinash Dixit writes in Restoring Fun to Game Theory[1]: Many movies contain scenes that illustrate some aspect of strategic interaction. These scenes can be screened in class as an introduction to that topic, and a discussion can lead to theorectical analysis of it.

Brinkmanship: Many movies have scenes that deal with the question of how to get some vital information that only your adversary possesses because he knows that the threat of killing him in not credible. The situation plays out differently in High Wind in Jamaica, Crimson Tide, The Maltese Falcon, and The Gods Must Be Crazy... In The Maltese Falcon, the hero, Samuel Spade (played by Humphrey Bogart), is the only person who knows where the priceless gem-studded falcon is hidden, and the chief villain, Caspar Gutman (Sydney Greenstreet), is threatening him for his information. This produces a classic exchange, here cited from the book (Hammet 1930, 223-24) but reproduced almost verbatim in the movie.
Spade flung his words out with a brutal sort of carelessness that gave them more weight than they could have got from dramatic emphasis or from loudness. "If you kill me, how are you going to get the bird? If I know you can't afford to kill me till you have it, how are you going to scare me into giving it to you?"

Gutman cocked his head to the left and considered these questions. His eyes twinkled between puckered lids. Presently, he gave his genial answer: "Well, sir, there are other means of persuasion besides killing and threatening to kill."

"Sure," Spade agreed, "but they're not much good unless the threat of death is behind them to hold the victim down. See what I mean? If you try something I don't like I won't stand for it. I'll make it a matter of your having to call it off or kill me, knowing you can't afford to kill me."

"I see what you mean." Gutman chuckled. "That is an attitude, sir, that calls for the most delicate judgement on both sides, because, as you know, sir, men are likely to forget in the heat of action where their best interests lie and let their emotions carry them away."

Spade too was all smiling blandness. "That's the trick, from my side," he said, "to make my play strong enough that it ties you up, but yet not make you mad enough to bump me off against your better judgment."
The class discussion can explore the nature of these strategies. The scene can be seen as an example of Schelling's (1960, 17-18, [The Strategy of Conflict]) idea of the (strategic) rationality of (seeming) irrationality; Gutman is making his threat credible by pointing out that he might be irrationally. It is better seen as an example of the dynamic game of brinkmanship (Schelling 1960, ch.8; 1966, ch. 3). Both parties, by persisting in their actions--Gutman in his torture and Spade in his defiance--are raising the risk that Gutman may get angry and do something against his own rational interest. Each is exploring the risk tolerance of the other, in the hope that it is lower than his own risk tolerance so that the other will blink first. A more formal analysis of this in the context of the Cuban missile crisis is found in Dixit and Skeath (2004, ch. 14,[Games of Strategy]).
The scene from The Gods Must Be Crazy makes this escalation of risk more explicit. An assassination attempt on the dictator of an African country has failed, and one of the team of gunmen has been captured. He is being interrogated for the location of the group's headquaters and the leader. The scene is in the inside of the helicopter. The blindfolded gunman is standing with his back to the open door. Above the noise of the rotors, the army officer questions the gunman a couple of times and gets only shakes of the head. Then he simply pushes the gunman out the door. The scene switches to the outside of the helicopter, which we now see is just barely hovering above the ground, and the gunman has fallen [2 meters] on his back. The army officer appears at the door and says, "The next time it will be a little higher."
Brinkmanship arises in many economic contexts, most notably that of wage bargaining where the risk of a strike or of a lockout increases as protracted negotiations fail to produce results. Understanding the subtleties and the risks of this strategy is therefore an important part of an exonomist's education, and these movie scenes illustrate it in memorable ways.

Nash Equilibrium: ... The crucial scene from the movie, where Nash is supposed to have discovered his concept of equilibrium, shows him in a bar with three male friends. A blonde and her four brunette friends walk in. All four men would like to win the blonde's favour. However, if they all approach her, each will stand at best a one-fourth chance; actually, the movie seems to suggest that she whould reject all four. The men will have to turn to the brunettes, but then the brunettes will reject them also, because "no one likes to be second choice." In the movie, Nash says that the solution is for them all to ignore the blonde and go for the brunettes. One of the other men thinks this is just a ploy on Nash's part to get the others to go for the brunettes so he can be the blonde's sole suitor. If one thinks about the situation using game theory, the Nash character is wrong and the friend is right. The strategy profile where all men go for the brunettes is not a Nash equilibrium: Given the strategies of the others, any one of them gains by deviating and going for the blonde. In fact, Anderson and Engers [pdf, opens with errors] (2002) show that the game has multiple equilibria, but the only outcome that cannot be a Nash equilibrium is the supposedly brilliant solution found by the Nash character.

Mixed Strategies: The concept of mixed strategies is often initially counterintuitive. Although many situations in sports serve to introduce it, I like one scene from The Princess Bride, a whimsical comedy that has the added advantage of being a favorite teen movie. In this scene, the hero (Westley) challenges one of the villains (Vizzini) to a duel of wits. Westley will poison one of two wine cups without Vizzini observing this action and set one in front of each of them. Vizzini will decide from which cup he will drink; Westley then must drink from the other cup. Vizzini goes through a whole sequence of arguments as to why Westley would or would not choose to poison one cup or the other. Finally, he believes he knows which cup is safe and drinks from it. Westley drinks form the other. Just as Vizzini is laughing and advising Westley to "never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line," Vizzini drops dead.
Pause the videotape or disc at this point and have a brief discussion. The students will quickly see that each of Vizzini's arguments is inherently self-contradictory. If Westley thinks through to the same point that leads Vizzini to believe that a particular cup will contain the poison, he should instead put the poison in the other cup. Any systematic action can be thought through and defeated by the other player. Therefore, the only correct strategy is to be unsystematic or random.

Asymmetric Information: Actually, this is not the main point of the story. Resume the tape or disc. The princess is surprised to find that Westley had put the poison in the cup he placed closer to himself. "They were both poisoned," he replies. "I have been building up immunity to Iocaine for years." Thus the game being played was really one of asymmetric information; Vizzini did not know Westley's payoffs and did not think the strategy of poisoning both cups was open to him. At this point, you can show a clip from another movie classic, Guys and Dolls. Sky Masterson recalls advice from his father: "Son, no matter how far you travel, or how smart you get, always remember this: Some day, somewhere, a guy is going to come to you and show you a nice brand-new deck of cards on which the seal is never broken, and this guy is going to offer to bet you that the jack of spades will jump out of this deck and squirt cider in your ear. But son, do not bet him, for as sure as you do you are going to get an ear full of cider" (Runyon 1933 [1992]).

Dr. Strangelove. ... A good case can be made for screening the whole movie and discussing it.

[1] Journal of Economic Education, Summer 2005, Volume 36, Number 3
Johan Richter (guest) meinte am 24. Nov, 22:43:
About the Nash movie. I thought "Nash"s point was that the equilibrium where everbody follows his one self-interest leads to a worse overall outcome.
This is strengthend by the fact that the movie later talks about Nash challenging the dominant opion in economics that if you follow your own interest you benefit the common interest. 
Mahalanobis antwortete am 25. Nov, 01:41:
my own personal experience I can infer that most movie-goers mistook the strategy profile where all men go for the brunettes for the Nash equilibrium.
This is strengthend by the fact that the movie later talks about Nash challenging the dominant opion in economics that if you follow your own interest you benefit the common interest.
I must have been sleeping during that part. But think of the price-setting of oligopolies. Companies play the Prisoner's dilemma, therefore they sell at marginal cost (Bertrand model) and by doing so they benefit the public interest => If you follow your own interest you benefit the common interest. QED. ;-DD 
kimcil (guest) antwortete am 7. Apr, 12:33:
I am preparing a research paper and collecting information on this topic. Your post is one of the better that I have read. Thank you for putting this information into one post.
alfamart official partner merchandise fifa piala dunia brazil 2014
Unit Link Terbaik di Indonesia Commonwealth Life Investra Link 
About the Nash movie. I thought "Nash"s point was that the equilibrium where everbody follows his one self-interest leads to a worse overall outcome.
This is strengthend by the fact that the movie later talks about Nash challenging the dominant opion in economics that if you follow your own interest you benefit the common interest. https://www.rebelmouse.com/rocketgerman/ 
johncloe8885 antwortete am 22. Sep, 14:40:
my friends are
my friends are not good for you, although the financial professional payday loans direct lender
financial, such as drugs, he said, I know, because in the short term, 12 month loans uk
the easiest option is to solve the financial problems.
instant loans

Understanding finance

The popularity of these loans, instant approval financing is no credit check loans
one of the reasons could be among the 1,500 24 100 YTL said. within 48 hours so you can get the loan application and loan amount. Your same day loans
next payday loan cash advance loans are also known as ~ pay logbook loans uk with. 
odellnoel1 antwortete am 23. Sep, 06:53:
Cash crunches
Cash crunches, financial guarantor loans cash advance loans to cover the finance people can borrow in the majority of cases, these loans are unsecured, but a good bad credit loans credit rating, plus a good credit history quick loans low rate interest in it means. these loans are usually payday loans no credit check paid according to 40% of your monthly loans monthly income. these 
johncloe8885 antwortete am 26. Sep, 12:20:
There are many people who do not Know that bad credit property development loans
loans.Under normal circumstances, it is these bad credit rating loans to people.I think you get forex software
a loan, a lot of people's credit rating, is a bad time, I was their choice.If you think this forex trading platforms
is possible, he did not get a loan, you ħ Mused asset based lending
bad results.Your credit rating half.Here are people who have bad credit to get loans bad credit option actually payday loans for people on benefits
yes.Therefore, loans, but because of the possibility of credit is usually not a payday loans no credit check
maskodok antwortete am 23. Nov, 13:16:
I am preparing a research paper and collecting information on this topic. Your post is one of the better that I have read. Thank you for putting this information into one post.
Pokerstar88.com agen texas poker dan domino online indonesia terpercaya, Agen Bola, Taruhan Bola, Agen Bola Terpercaya, Olb365.com Agen Judi Bola Online, Agen Judi Casino Online Indonesia Terpercaya 
nedved1000 antwortete am 17. Dec, 16:16:
thanks so much for that great blog and thanks also for accepting my links thanks
????? ??? ??????? ????? ??? ????? ??? ????? ??? ??????? ????? ??? ???????? ????? ??? ????? ????? ??? ????? ??????? ????? ??????
thanks so much i like very so much your post
????? ?????? ????? ???????? ????? ?????? ????? ??? ?????? ???? ???????? ????? ????? ????? ???????? ????? ?????? ????? ?????? ?????? ????? 
Mahalanobis meinte am 25. Nov, 02:25:
radek (guest) meinte am 26. Nov, 00:50:
"Nash Equilibrium..."

I thought the movie was simply confusing the idea of Nash Equilibrium with the Nash Bargaining Solution and winding up with something that was neither (not just in that place). 
maskodok antwortete am 15. Jan, 01:33:
Interesting topic for a blog. I have been searching the Internet for fun and came upon your website. Fabulous post. Thanks a ton for sharing your knowledge! It is great to see that some people still put in an effort into managing their websites. I'll be sure to check back again real soon.
Mobil Sedan COrolla,Idrpoker.com agen Texas poker Online Indonesia Terpercaya, Mobil Sedan COrolla, Cipto Junaedy 
simondoul (guest) antwortete am 23. Jun, 13:49:
When you own some sort of hotel or maybe a motel, you are in all probability aware which you will want insurance. It may not be always simple get insurance on your building, it have to meet a number of standards or that you are probably going to get a very complicated time obtaining insurance coverage you would like. www.hotelinsuranceplans.com 
Reviews (guest) antwortete am 26. Aug, 10:20:
Brigitte Preston is design principal with Dallas-based lauckgroup, an interior architecture firm. She is responsible for creating design concepts that meet business needs for leading corporations. Reviews 
MephistoS meinte am 26. Nov, 16:28:
Strategic interaction
I think that the movie scene has sth to do with the Nash equilibrium.
Remember the Nash bargaining solution defines axioms (four, namely Pareto-efficiency, utility independence of affine transformations, independence of irrelevant alternatives, and symmetry) which a point (set) in the set of feasible allocations should fulfill.
Concerning the Nash equilibrium of the "bar-approaching blond girl game", it's very difficult to give the Nash equilibria. I think the information structure, the utilities and so on can be constructed such that almost any possible strategy combination could be a (bayesian) Nash equilibrium. 
pauln antwortete am 28. Nov, 07:13:
"Nash Equilibrium" is second only to "opportunity cost" as a vague, impossible-to-understand, otherwise-useless economic concept that only causes confusion and arguments every time anyone tries to discuss it or determine what it is for a given real-world problem. 
asda (guest) antwortete am 26. Feb, 09:21:
thanks a lot for sharing this
begedir antwortete am 17. May, 16:24:
thanks a lot for sharing this belajar bahasa inggris , cara cepat hamil , khasiat daun kemangi , belajar bahasa inggris dengan cepat 
jason049 (guest) antwortete am 24. Aug, 12:19:
This is strengthend by the fact that the movie later talks about Nash challenging the dominant opion in economics that if you follow your own interest you benefit the common interest. ge.tt site 
ashleydanielle (guest) meinte am 29. Apr, 15:18:
The post is written in very a good manner and it contains many useful information for me.
ttlwu meinte am 14. May, 15:19:
I think
Great articles and great layout. Your blog post deserves all of the positive feedback it’s been getting.
muscle maximizer kyle leon reviews 
ttlwu meinte am 17. May, 11:33:
I think
Thanks for the blog post buddy! Keep them coming...
text your ex back michael fiore review 
ttlwu meinte am 31. May, 11:28:
I think
I haven’t any word to appreciate this post.....Really i am impressed from this post....the person who create this post it was a great human..thanks for shared this with us.
text your ex back review 
ttlwu meinte am 9. Jun, 11:28:
I think
Admiring the time and effort you put into your blog and detailed information you offer!..
ttlwu meinte am 14. Jun, 11:26:
I think
Superbly written article, if only all bloggers offered the same content as you, the internet would be a far better place..
werken schilder west-vl 
ttlwu meinte am 16. Jun, 14:22:
I think
Your article has piqued a lot of positive interest. I can see why since you have done such a good job of making it interesting.
domain: textyourexbackforum.com 
tsflw meinte am 7. Aug, 17:15:
Hi there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it’s really informative. I am gonna watch out for brussels. I’ll be grateful if you continue this in future. Numerous people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers! taxi lech 
tsflw meinte am 10. Aug, 16:57:
Thank you for helping people get the information they need. Great stuff as usual. Keep up the great work!!! e zigarette test 
tsflw meinte am 17. Aug, 12:24:
The information you have posted is very useful. The sites you have referred was good. Thanks for sharing.. http://www.rebelmouse.com/nasalpolypstreatmentmiracle 
kurasakisan meinte am 23. Sep, 17:13:
Thanks for writing amazing article, I really love it and appreciate that

Shadow Fight 2 Apk 
uofix meinte am 13. Oct, 09:05:
Wonderful illustrated information. I thank you about that. No doubt it will be very useful for my future projects. Would like to see some other posts on the same subject!
uofix meinte am 27. Oct, 13:20:
Excellent article. Very interesting to read. I really love to read such a nice article. Thanks! keep rocking.
adesivos de unhas 
uflsu meinte am 2. Nov, 11:22:
Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting?I have read a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style. Thanks a million and please keep up the effective work.
coordinator product development 
ttlwu meinte am 23. Nov, 07:49:
This is my first time i visit here and I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially it's discussion, thank you.
ttlwu meinte am 25. Nov, 07:32:
Wow i can say that this is another great article as expected of this blog.Bookmarked this site..
ttlwu meinte am 29. Nov, 11:09:
This was really an interesting topic and I kinda agree with what you have mentioned here!
girlfriend activation system guide 
Alicia001 meinte am 30. Nov, 20:15:
Make notices factor out what is important to you and best-write-my-essay.com. If you cannot make on the papers, use challenging notices, or make your concerns in a laptop. 
thscp1122 meinte am 6. Dec, 10:16:
I recently found many useful information in your website especially this blog page. Among the lots of comments on your articles. Thanks for sharing.
burleson tx roofing 
wbdgae1122 meinte am 10. Dec, 11:33:
Really a great addition. I have read this marvelous post. Thanks for sharing information about it. I really like that. Thanks so lot for your convene.
isolatie buitengevel 
nedved1000 meinte am 17. Dec, 16:20:
thanks so much for that great blog and thanks also for accepting my links thanks
????? ??? ??????? ????? ??? ????? ??? ????? ??? ??????? ????? ??? ???????? ????? ??? ????? ????? ??? ????? ??????? ????? ??????
thanks so much i like very so much your post
????? ?????? ????? ???????? ????? ?????? ????? ??? ?????? ???? ???????? ????? ????? ????? ???????? ????? ?????? ????? ?????? ?????? ????? 
ttlwu meinte am 20. Dec, 10:27:
Its a great pleasure reading your post.Its full of information I am looking for and I love to post a comment that "The content of your post is awesome" Great work.
obsession phrases kelsey diamond video review