Game theory in the popular press.


Game theory and economics in the news

August 10, 2006 Wired News, Drugs: Sports' Prisoner's Dilemma
The decision to take steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs is a dominant strategy, leading to a prisoner's dilemma (by Bruce Schneier)
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)
August 3, 2006 Slate, Hezbollah and the Prisoner's Dilemma
Questions the wisdom of applying tit for tat to the Israel-Lebanon war (by Tim Harford)
April 29, 2006 Slate, If Life Gives You Lemons ...
A discussion of Akerlof's famous lemon problem, and the role of adverse selction in the markets for used cars and insurance (by Tim Harford)
April 1, 2006 Slate, There's Not Enough Money in Politics
A clever argument, applying simple insights from auction theory, that lobbyists have less power than commonly imagined. (by Tim Harford)
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.
March 15, 2006 ABC News, Lose the weight, or wear the bikini on TV
Thomas Schelling's Nobel prize winning theory helps people diet, with public humiliation facing those who do not lose the weight.
March 6, 2006 BusinessWeek, The Secret To Google's Success
Describes Google's and Yahoo's online auctions for ad space, delving into the theory of first- and second-price auctions, and the winner's curse.
October 11, 2005 BusinessWeek, A nobel letdown in economics
In response to the 2005 Nobel Prize, argues that game theory is merely a theoretical pastime, and experimental economics is the hope of progress for economics. (by Michael Mandel )
September 2005 American Scientist, Cheating viruses and game theory
A certain bacteria-eatring virus plays the prisoner's dilemma, with "cheat" a substantial proportion evolving to play "cheat." (by Paul E. Turner)
May 2, 2005 CFRA News, Ottawa, Teen loses game of chicken with train
Not a good idea. (by Josh Pringle)
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 Globe and Mail, Martin-Layton deal no surprise to some
Canadian politicians employ game theorists to assist in negotiation and deal-making with rival factions. (by Petti Fong)
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 29, 2005 New York Times, Rock, Paper, Payoff: Child's Play Wins Auction House an Art Sale
Major auction houses forced to play rock-paper-scissors over rights to auction eccentric millionaire's art. "Sotheby's decided to leave its decision to chance, and had no particular strategy." (by Carol Vogel)
April 19, 2005 The Guardian, UK, Signal your opposition
The Prisoner's dilemma applied to politics: "Most people won't vote for the minor parties because they expect other people not to vote for them, and therefore consider such a vote wasted" (by George Monbiot)
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
October 13, 2004 Wired News, New tack wins Prisoner's Dilemma
A modern updating of Axelrod's tournament finds a strategy that beats tit for tat in the prisoner's dilemma, but only by sacrificing team mates.
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)
April 13, 2004 Bloomberg, China's spending fury points to `moral hazard'
Local governments overspend due to moral hazard and inappropriate incentives rewarding growth without punishing expenditure.
April 8, 2004 Fox News, Private investment protects environment where government fails
Environmental protection suffers from the tragedy of the commons where public lands suffer due to a lack of property rights.
April 1, 2004 Mercury News, Wages are key to offshoring
Argues that outsourcing of American jobs is a tragedy of the commons in which each company raises its profits but leads to less purchasing power at home.
March 29, 2004 EurekAlert, Why AL batters get beaned more often
Moral hazard allows AL batters to get hit by pitches more often than NL batters since the designated hitter rule precludes a tit-for-tat response.
March 28, 2004 Times UK, Recession and other terrorist myths
Notes that international cooperation to fight terrorism is a prisoner's dilemma with each nation having incentive to do less than its share.
March 12, 2004 Chicago Maroon, A treatise on dating: the Prisoner's Dilemma
Student paper notes that college dating is a prisoner's dilemma with payoffs expressed in "exclusivity points" (yup, it's a stretch).
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)
August 28, 2003 Economist, To have and to hold
Discusses common evidence of irrationality and a possession effect in economics.
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.
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.
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.
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 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)
December 19, 2002 The Economist, Nomadism in Mongolia
Collective herding in Mongolia suffers the tragedy of the commons as some leaders call for privatization.
December 13, 2002 University of Minnesota , Nomadism in Mongolia
Blue Jays trained to play the prisoner's dilemma appear to adopt a tit-for-tat strategy, leading to cooperation.
November 18, 2002 Seattle Times, Data-storage field learning to cooperate
Compatibility of hardware and software is a prisoner's dilemma, resolved by the adoption of standards.
October 25, 2002 Harvard Crimson, Philosopher attacks self-interest
Philosopher offers resolution to prisoner's dilemma relying on the establishment of "social identities."
October 19, 2002 BBC News, Coffee cartel shuts up shop
Association of Coffee Producing Countries fails to maintain prices and cooperation, abandons collusion.
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 Physics World, Let the quantum games begin
Quantum computing holds a solution to the prisoner's dilemma and other games, physicists show. (by Chiu Fan Lee and Neil F Johnson)
July 30, 2002 Miami Herald, Market decline reveals hazards
Stock options create a moral hazard, incentives for short-term stock price spikes.
July 23, 2002 New York Times, Why We're So Nice: We're Wired to Cooperate
Psychiatrists note that cooperation in the prisoner's dilemma is part of innate altruism.
July 18, 2002 Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Why cooperate? It's a pleasure, says Emory study
Psychiatrists note that cooperation in the prisoner's dilemma is part of innate altruism.
June 1, 2002 Natural History, Cheaters and chumps
Discusses game theory's contribution to evolutionary cooperation, noting the role of anonymity, repeated play, and kinship.
May 1, 2002 Dollar & Sense, What can radicals learn from game theory?
An introduction to social struggle as a prisoner's dilemma in which the role of government is to devise the right game to be played. (by Alejandro Reuss)
April 8, 2002 Wall Street Journal, Can the risk of terrorism be calculated by insurers?
Understanding the mixed strategy game of target selection and defense helps quantify risk.
April 8, 2002 Roanoke Times, Ensuring discrimination
Considers the relationship between credit histories and moral hazard in the insurance industry. (by Reginald Shareef)
April 3, 2002 Nature, Physicists play by quantum rules
Quantum computing holds a solution to the prisoner's dilemma, physicists show.
April 1, 2002 Entrepeneur Magazine, The Art of (Price) War
Price wars are often not sustainable and value-pricing may be a better proposition.
January 23, 2002 ZDNet, PGP creator: Snooping must be curbed
Encryption: the web is a one-shot, not an iterated prisoner's dilemma
December 1, 2001 Discover, Why we take risks
Describes evidence of Amotz Zahavi's "handicap principle" by which risky, extravangant behaviors by many species of animals signal strength and ability.
November 15, 2001 Nature, Playing by quantum rules
Quantum computing holds a solution to the prisoner's dilemma, physicists show. (by Erica Klarreich)
October 24, 2001 ABC News, Drug hoarding and 'Prisoner's Dilemma'
The desire to hoard antibiotics in response to anthrax threats leads to a prisoner's dilemma and limited supplies. (by John Allen Paulos)
September 10, 2001 Forbes, The tragedy of the commons
Discusses web-based business plans in light of the tragedy of the commons and the need to privatize Web resources.
August 18, 2001, NBA team as status symbol becoming more like an idol.
Cities cought in a prisoner's dilemma over recruiting basketball teams.
April 28, 2001 New York Times, Adding art to the rigor of statistical science
Bayesian probability analysis gains popularity in uses ranging from effectiveness of medical procedures to email screeners.
April 10, 2001 DevX Press, and Microsoft launch prisoner's dilemma game...
The prisoner's dilemma as an educational tool for developers.
April 6, 2001 Nature, A lighter shade of egg
Laying a final pale egg deters free riding "egg dumpers" by signaling that incubation has begun.
March 23, 2001 Dayton Business Journal, Game theory applied to lure health care workers
Hospitals bidding for nurses find themselves in a prisoner's dilemma.
2001 The Games Journal, Aggression in multi-player games
Early aggression may lead to retribution in strategy board games.
November 22, 2000 The, The malls get decked: Retailers minding too many stores
Retail overexpansion the result of a prisoner's dilemma
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)
June 19, 2000 eeTimes, Bill Gates could gain a lot from a little game theory
Discusses tit-for-tat as an optimal strategy in repeated games
June 1, 2000, The 2000 compensation survey: Riding the bull
Stock options reward executives when prices rise but this does not mean incentives are aligned.
April 28, 2000 CNN Money, Britain's cellular bonanza
Third generation (3G) cell phone services auction in Britain
April 23, 2000 The Observer, Sold to the slyest bidder
Information and toeholds in auctions for UK soccer teams
April 10, 2000 Lou Krieger, A little game theory
Optimal bluffing in poker requires understanding mixed strategies
January 1, 2000 Scientific American, For quantum prisoners, there may be no dilemma
Quantum computing holds a solution to the prisoner's dilemma
August 23, 1999 New York Times, Multimedia Transmissions Drive Net Toward Gridlock
Lack of Internet pricing schemes leads to a tragedy of the commons and high congestion.
April 14, 1999 Financial Times, Playing chicken can clip one's wings
Describes how the game of chicken applies not only to film versions of teenage angst, but also to common business situations. (by John Kay)
April 9, 1999 Slate, My way to the eBay
Summarizes the theory of first versus second and private versus common value auctions but also discusses the role of addiction to auctions.
April 1, 1999 The Atlantic, Living in Candlestick Park
International relations: replacing game-theoretic models with ones from geology
April 1, 1999 Nature, Phage-lift for game theory
Primitive phages, bacteria-infecting viruses, play the prisoner's dilemma on a genetic, evolutionary level.
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.
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?
1998 The Slab, Tit for Tat
Describes the use of tit for tat throughout the natural world and notes Axelrod's findings.
December 19, 1997 New Statesman, How about some Christmas brain-teasers with a twist?
Suggests Shubik's dollar auction as a fun family activity (though offers no disclaimer to the likely feud that will result).
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.
September 29, 1997 Wall Street Journal, Easel pickings: For this art collector, priceless paintings are get-out-of jail cards
Reducing sentences for art thieves in return for stolen art creates perverse incentives to steal more.
July 1, 1997 Pollution Engineering, Industry, regulators learn to play the game
Pollution regulation is a prisoner's dilemma between companies and regulators
April 19, 1997 New Scientist, Game theory backs crackdown on petty crime
Zero-tolerance policing is a game of chicken between cops and sociopaths.
December 2, 1996 Wireless Week, Cities bought cheaply: F-block bids go at penny a pop
The new round of the FCC specrum auctions received low prices in some areas, due to bidding increment rules and relatively low turnout.
April 1996 Fast Company, Seven Card Stud
A winning poker player shares his formula for success, which apparently includes a flawed, rudimentary understanding of game theory. (by Alan Deutschman)
September 1, 1993 Atlantic Monthly, Can selfishness save the environment?
The Greenhouse Effect results from a tragedy of the commons which can be overcome with tit-for-tat strategies.
April 1, 1983 The Freeman, Free riders face a rocky road
Argues that even though employees free ride on union power by receiving benefits without being members, this is a valid check on union power.