Game theory in the popular press.


Game theory and economics in the news

August 8, 2006 MarketWatch, Lizards, rats & the investor's primitive brain
Even Wall Street's biggest money managers overbid in the traditional dollar auction. (by Paul B. Farrell)
July 29, 2006 Barron's, Hedging Your Hedge-Fund Bet
Argues that investors should stay away from hedge funds because of cognitive biases and the winner's curse. (by Jonathan Reiss)
July 19, 2006 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, CMU deals a winning hand for Texas Hold 'em
Computer scientists use game theory to create poker-playing computers. (by David Templeton)
June 10, 2006 Slate, Buy! Buy! Buy! Sell! Sell! Sell!
Stock market frenzies and crashes need not be due to exuberance or idiocy, but may reflect rational signaling and information herding. (by Tim Harford)
May 13, 2006 Slate, Risky Business
A discussion of the theoretical and psychological elements of risk in the insurance industry (by Tim Harford)
May 5, 2006 The Scientist, Sexual selection alternative slammed
Angry letters respond to a review article in Science which suggested that cooperative game theory is a better model of reproduction than Darwin's sexual selection. (by Nick Atkinson)
March 16, 2006 ABC News, Mission impossible: In search of strangers in New York City
The theory of focal points suggests that random strangers should be able to find each other in New York City in this Primetime experiment.
May 3, 2005 The Times of India, Dogmatic rationality becomes irrelevant
(by Ashok Vohra)
April 30, 2005 New Scientist, Voters empowered by internet swap shop
Online vote swapping sites in the US and UK allow people to trade their votes for those in districts where they can have more impact. (by Celeste Biever)
April 29, 2005 Financial Times, Jungle Theories
A rather scathing review of Paul Omerod's "Why Things Fail" which includes references to bounded rationality and evolutionary game theory in explaining business failures. (by Paul Ormerod)
April 19, 2005 Financial Times, Rules that breed selfish conduct
Prisoners' dilemmas are only troublesome when people are assumed to be selfish. Yet, if we predicate public policy on reciprocity and cooperation, better outcomes would result. (by John Kay)
January 20, 2005 The Economist, Games people play
An evolutionary take on public goods contribution experiments, in which subject populations may converge to mixed strategies
2005 Beliefnet, Rooting for the Joneses
Describes the human emotion of jealousy as "a perfect paradigm of insufficiency: I am less because you are more. It's a zero-sum game." (by Marc Ian Barasch)
September 30, 2004 ABC News, How we guess what others will do
An introduction to the p-beauty contest and its repeated play, with some vague application to financial markets (by John Allen Paulos)
September 2004 Monash University Newsline, Invasive ants form giant supercolony in Melbourne
Colonies of generally competitive ants have been found with a genetic mutation that turns off competitiveness and allows for large-scale cooperation (by Ingrid Sanders)
July 31, 2004 New Scientist, Why we do what we do
Decribes progress in the science of decision-making, including economic, psychological, and neurological perspectives. (by Laura Spinney)
October 6, 2003 Newsweek, An experimental mind
Highlights Vernon Smith's contributions to behavioral economics and notes how the field is finding new applications.
September 25, 2003 Tech Central Station, The game theory of nuclear proliferation
When nuclear weapons are involved, perhaps counting on rationality and common knowledge is a bit too much to ask, given the cost of failure.
September 23, 2003 KESO News Channel, Man behind recall urges Schwarzenegger or McClintock to drop out
Worried that the two republican frontrunners will split the vote, Congressman Issa issues a threat to oppose both.
September 23, 2003 New York Post, Why Clark will fade
Argues that the Clintons wish to change the game for personal gain, propping up weak candidates to prolong confusion.
September 17, 2003 National Geographic, Monkeys show sense of fairness, study says
The finding that monkeys have an innate sense of fairness may mean that altruism may be quite rational.
September 17, 2003 USA Today, Researchers find monkeys know when they're getting ripped off
A (dubious) study finds that a species of monkeys has an innate sense of fairness. Perhaps the monkeys should have played an ultimatum game.
September 7, 2003 New Haven Register, SCSU student tackles the U.S. electoral system
Analyzes the power of each voter under varying presidential election rules.
August 28, 2003 Economist, To have and to hold
Discusses common evidence of irrationality and a possession effect in economics.
July 27, 2003 New York Times, How to vote? Let us count the ways
Describes alternative voting systems and metions Arrow's Impossibility Theorem (by Michael Cooper)
June 28, 2003 New York Times, Calculating the irrational in economics
Recaps a behavioral economics conference and discusses some common failures of rationality.
June 24, 2003 New York Times, A mathematician crunches the Supreme Court's numbers
Do Supreme Court members vote independently or are there clear and repeating patterns?
June 17, 2003 New York Times, Brain experts now follow the money
Calls for the advent of "neuroeconomics," a blending of game theory and emotion allowing for standard anomalies in rationality.
May 15, 2003 Slate, Both sides now
A game theoretic analysis of the Middle East conflict, considering irrationality and whether the game is or is not zero-sum
May 10, 2003 New Scientist, To trust is human
One researcher suggests a hormonal cause of good will in games and an inverse link between religion and altrusim. (by Ken Grimes)
March 13, 2003 Economist, Pro bono publico
Reports on initial simulations of the evolution of cooperative societies, overcoming the incentive to free ride.
February 17, 2003 Slate, Fortune 500, meet Daytona 500: What NASCAR can teach us about business
Race cars drafting resemble a stag hunt game; racers balance cooperation and aggression.
February 7, 2003 BBC News, The maths of Lords reform
Models of strategic voting inform how different procedures in Britain's legislature may lead to distinct outcomes.
January 24, 2003 Chronicle of Higher Education, Taking on 'rational man'
Chronicles the heterodox movement in economics and discusses the relaxation of rationality assumptions.
December 17, 2002 Cato Institute, Why the United States should not attack Iraq
Argues that Saddam Hussein is rational and deterrence may be achieved through credible commitment.
November 2, 2002 Science News, Election Selection: Are we using the worst voting procedure?
Discusses different voting systems and how the outcomes depend greatly on the specific rules employed.
October 31, 2002 The Economist, Setting the trap
Applauds U.S.-style antitrust laws that provide immunity to cartel members who come forward as a "clever use of game theory" creating a race to cooperate.
October 19, 2002 BBC News, Coffee cartel shuts up shop
Association of Coffee Producing Countries fails to maintain prices and cooperation, abandons collusion.
October 18, 2002 Slate, Conspiracy at State College
Joe Paterno's seeming irrationality may be commitment device to instill fear in officials.
October 11, 2002 Business Week, Nobel laurels for an odd couple
Nobel prize awarded for pioneering work in experimental economics and behavioral game theory.
October 10, 2002 Washington Post, Two Americans to share Nobel Prize in economics
Nobel prize awarded for pioneering work in experimental economics and behavioral game theory.
October 1, 2002 Asia Times, OPEC in the line of fire
The repeated prisoner's dilemma of OPEC cooperation is unstable.
October 1, 2002 Dr. Dobb's Journal, The science of complexity
Provides algorithms for modeling complexity: boundedly rational agents playing repeated congestion games
July 31, 2002 Wired, Game theory for real people
Argues for interdisciplinary approaches to game theory to replace rational paradigms.
July 30, 2002 Financial Times, In search of self-interest
Considers whether historical figures in politics and business satisfy the assumptions of homo economicus, and notes that the definition is quite similar to that of a sociopath. (by John Kay)
May 1, 2002 Scientific American, When markets go mad
Econophysics tries to explain market movement melding adaptive systems resarch with behavioral game theory.
March 16, 2002 ABC News, FTC Files Drug Co. Complaint
Generic drug makes paid not to produce generics in cooperation among pharmaceutical manufacturers.
January 11, 2002 Poker Digest, How winning and losing alters our perceptions of risk
Applications of Thaler's research on risk tolerance and rationality to poker
January 10, 2002 Texas A&M University, Social Interactions May Be Traced Back To Carnivorous Behavior
Cooperative hunting and meat-sharing analyzed as a cooperative game and a negotiation.
January 10, 2002 Nature, Homo Reciprocans
Human altruistic tendencies result in punishing free-riders, potentially resolving the tragedy of the commons. (by Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis)
January 3, 2002 Nature, The physics of the trading floor
Physicists argue that irrationality leads to exploitable patterns in the stock market. (by Mark Buchanan)
December 1, 2001 Psychiatric Times, World leaders not immune to trauma
How world leaders play games and maintain rationality under stress
November 22, 2001 The Guardian, EC fines 'Vitamin Inc' cartel
Cooperation among European vitamin manufacturers deemed collusive.
November 5, 2001 New York Magazine, The domino theory
Mayoral race in New York includes cascades, strategic voting, and games of chicken
October 10, 2001 Nature, Machiavellian tactics modelled
Strategic voting suggests that we may want to vote for our enemies to improve our situation.
October 8, 2001 eWeek, Not just dumb bugs anymore
Information technology: the need for game theory, since opponents are rational
September 1, 2001 Fast Company, What is the New Economics?
Discussion of Shiller's work in behavioral finance
March 7, 2001 Financial Times, Peak performance
An eulogy to Herbert Simon, describing his theory of satisficing and contributions to behavioral economics. (by John Kay)
March 1, 2001 Rationally Speaking, Game theory, rational egoism and the evolution of fairness
Asks if ethics are rational and discusses the ultimatum game.
February 11, 2001 New York Times Magazine, Exuberance is rational
Discusses Thaler's criticism of rationality and how behavioral game theory helps in financial markets.
November 1, 2000 Discover, May the best man lose
Examines alternate voting systems such as the Borda count and notes that John McCain's chances would have been better without a plurality system.
October 31, 2000 Wired, Vote trade: the democratic way?
Nader and Gore supporters demonstrate strategic voting by swapping votes.
September 1, 2000 Campaign for America, The billionaire's buyout plan
Warren Buffett proposes to change the rules of the campaign finance strategic voting game
August 25, 2000, To the last 'survivor'
Examines cooperation in extensive-form games on the TV show "Survivor."
August 25, 2000 CNN Money, De Beers buffs its image
Discusses the transformation of the diamond cartel in light of greater competition.
July 12, 2000 Financial Times, Beauty and the bidder
Auctions are useful market allocation mechanisms when the reward is mostly monetary, but do poorly when the prize is of psychological value. (by John Kay)
July 1, 2000 Lingua Franca, Death of an altruist
Evolutionary biologist George Pierce believed in the evolution of cooperation
July 2000 American Scientist, Mathematical devices for getting a fair share [pdf]
A lengthy introduction into both cooperative and non-cooperate game-theoretic elements of fair division. Includes a good synopsis of cooperative solution concepts. (by Theodore P. Hill)
July 14, 1999, A-n-t-i-c-i-p-a-t-i-o-n. The economics of deferred gratification
Examines how future-looking utility-functions can call rationality into question.
January 29, 1999 Commonweal, Who's driving: the market's dilemma
Incorrectly describes a stock market bubble as a prisoner's dilemma but does describe the boundedly rational greater fool theory.
October 10, 1998 New Scientist, Don't get even, get mad
Drama Theory attempts to reconcile game theory with irrationality, emotional commitment.
September 30, 1998 Financial Times, A scientific formula for playing games in the dark
An introduction to Nash equilibria in coordination games and their associated problems in practice, including equilibrium selection. (by John Kay)
June 11, 1998 Nature, Help and you shall be helped
Can cooperation in prisoner's dilemma -type games evolve without repeated interaction, through indirect reciprocity?
October 7, 1997 Wall Street Journal, Shipping price-fixing pacts hurt consumers, critics say
Discusses the operation of legal cartels in the ocean shipping industry.
November 18, 1996 Wall Street Journal, Even a losing bid can pay off
Examines strategic moves that result in other participants paying you to play the game.
1996 Montana Chess News, Celebrity interview
Mock-interview of Star Trek's Spock incorporates rationality and common knowledge
October 1, 1995 Libertarian Party News, Proportional voting system would benefit the LP
Examines alternatives to the electoral college and the strategic voting implications of each.