Game theory in the popular press.


Game theory and economics in the news

December 19, 2003 Slate, Number Crunching: Why doesn't football have a Bill James?
A more reasoned approach to football strategy determines the value of each field position to calculate optimal play calling. (by Josh Levin)
November 11, 2003 The Register, Oracle chokes on PeopleSoft's poison pill
Strategic commitment highlighted through a poision pill provision, creating an additional $800 million cost to be assumed by Oracle in case of a takeover.
November 9, 2003 New York Times, The imperfect science of release dates
Strategic selection of movie release dates is often a game of chicken and often requires credible preemption.
November 1, 2003 Business 2.0, The card sharks from Silicon Valley
The new champions of poker include those skilled in probability and game theory (by Paul Keegan)
October 30, 2003 Courier-Journal, Motorcycle deaths rise after helmet-law repeal
Refutes the moral hazard argument that helmet laws make riders less safe by empowering them to take on more risks.
October 28, 2003 Australian IT, Christmas comes early for Corbett
Argues that the market incorrectly views retailing as a zero sum game, punishing one chain for successes by another.
October 28, 2003 Montreal Gazette, Paper covers rock, hype lures media
The World Championships of Rock, Paper, Scissors take mixed strategies a bit too far but guarantee fun for all.
October 27, 2003 The Washington Post, Concert tickets moving to e-auctions
Ticketmaster begins to sell some concert tickets through auctions attempting to appropriate some surplus currently going to scalpers. (by Leslie Walker)
October 27, 2003 FrontPage Magazine, Illegal immigrants reshape the political landscape
The distribution of Congressional suits proportional to population makes it a zero sum game, leading to battles over counting illegals.
October 27, 2003 Salt lake Tribune, Use your head
Short letter to the editor notes that moral hazard leads to more head injuries for skiers wearing helmets than for those foregoing the safety gear.
October 27, 2003 Houston Chronicle, Extra life insurance from employer often too costly
Employer life insurance is too costly due to adverse selection. Only the sickest employees sign up, leading to higher premiums.
October 24, 2003 Chicago Sun-Times, Prof offers proof Cubs have only themselves to blame
Game theory helps determine likely outcome of game if fan had not interfered.
October 17, 2003 LinuxWorld, The powerful economic underpinnings of OSS
Argues that open source software does not cause a tragedy of the commons but in fact turns the tragedy "into a Tragedy into a Cornucopia."
October 16, 2003 IT Web, Warmed-over Bayesian ham and spam
Bayesian probabilistic spam filters work better than static checking against keywords or address lists.
October 9, 2003 The Economist, Fat Cats Feeding
Discusses trends in executive incentive pay in light of recent scandals.
October 6, 2003 Newsweek, An experimental mind
Highlights Vernon Smith's contributions to behavioral economics and notes how the field is finding new applications.
October 1, 2003 eWeek, Zeroing in on site and security flaws
Computer system security is not simply a probabilistic exercise since hackers are strategic actors. Game theoretic thought is required.
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 11, 2003 New York Times, Two years later, a thousand years ago
A simplistic characterization of globalization and interdependence as making the world "more nonzero-sum," tying American prosperity to that of other nations.
September 8, 2003 Fresno Bee, Florez air bills may have to wait
Classic game of chicken in the State Assembly over an environmental bill as the legislative deadline nears.
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.
September 5, 2003 Forward, Israeli economists' dangerous minds
Notes that economists are more greedy than other people in the ultimatum game. (by Avia Spivak)
August 28, 2003 Economist, To have and to hold
Discusses common evidence of irrationality and a possession effect in economics.
August 7, 2003 TechNewsWorld, Neural-network technology moves into the mainstream
Notes how several companies combine neural networks with game theory to create software to mine consumer data and create targeted campaigns.
August 3, 2003 New Scientist, Biggest not always the daddy in mating game
In the evolutionary mating game, experienced partners of a number of species prefer weaker males, potentially as a signal of less abuse to come.
August 1, 2003 New York Times, Schwarzenegger and top ally mum as filing deadline nears
As the recall election filing deadline approaches, Schwarzenegger and Riordan play game of chicken as only one should run, but should enter at the final moment.
July 31, 2003 Freezerbox, Who profits from erasing Iraq's debt?
A Pentagon advisor believes that financiers of "vicious dictatorships" should face a moral hazard but perhaps the hazard is for not supporting US efforts?
July 28, 2003 The Guardian, Caught on tape
A 1974 parody show serves as an example of "Living Scultpure". Contestants participated in a prisoner's dilemma with payoffs reflected as hours of solitary time in a basement.
July 27, 2003 Bay City News, Game of chicken turns deadly for SJ youth
If there was such a thing as the "game Theory Darwin Awards," these two participants in a carless version of game of chicken would likely win.
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)
July 16, 2003 Kansas City Star, This deal had losers, not victims
A judge believes that investors should take responsibility for stock market losses. Allowing losers to sue brokerages would create a moral hazard.
July 11, 2003 San Francisco Chronicle, Republicans agree, in theory, to unite on one candidate
California republicans face a tragedy of the commons as more candidates entering against Governor Davis implies a smaller chance of any Republican winning.
July 10, 2003 Herald Tribune, The new card shark
Poker professionals are studying up online and by using simulation software which uses game theory to determine optimal strategies.
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.
June 8, 2003 New York Times, Hollywood Defections Leave Agency Low on Tinsel
Lack of new talent means Hollywood talent agencies playing zero sum game, fighting over fixed resources.
June 1, 2003 CIO Magazine, Forward thinking about reverse auctions
Points out that online auctions are not a panacea, and warns against concentrating solely on price.
May 30, 2003 Business Week, The Jobs Wizard of Wharton?
New director of career services at Wharton uses game theory for optimal interview scheduling.
May 20, 2003 Sydney Morning Herald, How to bomb friends and alienate us all
Both tightening of security post 9/11 and terrorists' increased pursuit of "soft" targets reflect optimal mixed strategies.
May 19, 2003 Gotham Gazette, Fighting over outdoor space
A modern-day tragedy of the commons as dogs, bicycles, cafes, and others compete for New York's limited sidewalks.
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)
May 1, 2003 Economist, Signal failure?
Summarizes a RAND article by Feltovich, Harbaugh To, which argues that, in a population of three types of people, the best types may send " countersignals."
April 24, 2003 Arizona Republic, Sad reality behind the American (Airlines) way
The subsidization of the airline industry creates a moral hazard as airlines do not face the risk of loss.
April 21, 2003 The Guardian, Writing off tyrants' debt is a principle that should be extended to even poorer nations
Does forgiving post-war Iraq its pre-war debts create a moral hazard for other countries?
April 18, 2003 ASU Web Devil, Let the sunlight of honesty disinfect cheating plague
Academic cheating is pervasive and creates a prisoner's dilemma as people may elect cheat to stay competitive.
April 14, 2003, Terrorism and the moral hazard
Argues that the insurance-industry requirement to offer terrorism insurance will lead to more terrorist attacks as moral hazard precludes care.
April 7, 2003 AScribe, Stealing bases just doesn't pay, says baseball game theorist
The threat of stealing a base keeps the opponent guessing but few games are won due to base stealing.
April 1, 2003 Fast Company, Mars wins the shipping game
Food giant Mars Inc. applies game theory and auction theory to improve logistics and decrease shipping costs.
March 30, 2003 Cincinnati Enquirer, How smart is it to be trusting?
Being trusting in business is not naive but an optimal way to play repeated prisoner's dilemmas according to Axelrod's findings.
March 20, 2003, The mother of all gambles
Financial auction markets are better predictors of world events, from terrorism to elections.
March 16, 2003 Post-Gazette , Bush is playing 'chicken' not only with Saddam, but with the U.N. and allies, as well
Diplomatic and military brinkmanship games require strong commitments to win. Who will blink first on each front?
March 13, 2003 Economist, Pro bono publico
Reports on initial simulations of the evolution of cooperative societies, overcoming the incentive to free ride.
March 1, 2003 Beyond Discovery (NSF), The bidding game
A concise introduction to auction theory, including auction types, the winner's curse, and the FCC Spectrum Auctions.
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 16, 2003 Cariocas Press Release, Cariocas raises $5.25 million in second-round funding
Marketing firm creates customer loyalty and retention products through applications of game theory.
February 13, 2003 Cyber India Online, Games people play: A different theory
An interview with game theorist Avinash Dixit about the fundamentals of game theory (by Chinmayee S)
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 31, 2003 Wall Street Journal, Ford, GM escalate price war with latest rebates for SUVs
Price wars continue in the prisoner's dilemma of automotive pricing.
January 27, 2003 Dallas Morning News, Physicists play games with quantum mysteries
Quantum computing holds a solution to the prisoner's dilemma, physicists show.
January 24, 2003 Chronicle of Higher Education, Taking on 'rational man'
Chronicles the heterodox movement in economics and discusses the relaxation of rationality assumptions.
January 23, 2003 Los Angeles Times, Do the math: Rooting out terrorists is tricky business
Bayes' Rule indicates that even if we can predict a future terrorist with great accuracy, we will usually be wrong.
January 20, 2003 Philadelphia Inquirer, Strategic science
Game theory is applied to terrorism prevention, from optimal vaccination to baggage screening.
January 20, 2003 American Medical News, Managed care easing gatekeeper hassles
Discusses the role of capitation and other incentive pay packages in managed care.
January 13, 2003 Gambling Magazine, Game and probability theories may suggest different strategies
A perverse (and incorrect) application of the minimax notion of mixed strategies to poker.
January 12, 2003 New York Times, A surge in saber-rattling at the precipice
Describes the origin of the word brinkmanship and the game of chicken from James Dean to Iraq.
January 11, 2003 Business Standard, The games anti-Keynesians play
Game theorist John Nash likes Keynesian economists to Bolsheviks, speaks against nation-controlled currencies.
January 10, 2003 Economic Times (India Times), Discovering Nash at division of mango loot
Amarty Sen addresses John Nash's bargaining solution arguing for the inclusion of equity and fairness notions.
January 9, 2003 Washington Post, Finding shelter with Uncle Sam
Companies increasingly use incentive pay to shift profit risks to employees.
January 8, 2003 Tech Central Station, The cyberspace commons?
Since many Web resources are public, the tragedy of the commons occurs, diminishing their usefulness.
January 5, 2003 ABC News, Future world: privacy, terrorists, and science fiction
An application of Bayes' Rule indicating that even if we can predict a future terrorist with great accuracy, we will usually be wrong. (by John Allen Paulos)
2003 Wall Street Journal Europe, A primer for government auctions
The winner's curse impacts auctions for telecom licenses. Effects could be reduced through transparency and information-sharing. (by Bhaskar Chakravorti)