A Game Without Game Theory


One man. Two boys. Twelve kids.

Related Post Roulette

10 Responses

  1. kylind says:

    So what would prevent the stronger partner from agreeing to share at the start, but then at the end defecting anyway and taking all the money?Report

    • Reformed Republican in reply to kylind says:

      I had the same thought. I cannot imagine any situation where the best performer on the winning team does not keep all of the winnings.Report

  2. Kazzy says:

    Nothing but “honor” and “trustworthiness” are real currency in the game. Part of why the one guy took the money was because his partner previously backed out of an alliance. But no one even tried!Report

    • Vikram Bath in reply to Kazzy says:

      I don’t know if this is the reason, but most people have artificial boundaries that limit their available actions. When you are told by an authority figure that “the winner gets to decide”, you may take that as inviolable and not try to find a way to subvert the winner’s decision by getting them to pre-commit to giving you something.

      Another possibility: (This is really just a variation on your MTV-contestants are stupid hypothesis.) Maybe the weaker contestants were more focused on themselves and thought “well, if I don’t try, I’m guaranteed to get nothing. I might as well try and hope the stronger person is nice to me.”Report

  3. Pinky says:

    The optimal strategy is to give $75000 to the weaker player on each of the other teams to throw the match.Report

  4. It looks like it’s set up as a dictator game. The “rational” move by the dictator is always to keep all the money, and that dominant strategy is easy to figure out. Economists, sociologists, and psychologists use the dictator game (and the related ultimatum game) to try to understand why people sometimes act “irrationally”. Generally speaking, the outcomes are usually related to social norms such as “‘honor’ and ‘trustworthiness'”, as well as fairness, and the possibility of repeated games: I might be the dictator next time, so you have a rational incentive to give me some money.Report

  5. Brandon Berg says:

    Game theory on the Golden Balls game show.Report

  6. DensityDuck says:

    Was the show presented in such a way that it was incontrovertibly filmed as-it-happened?

    That is, did they ever say to the players “the higher scoring player gets to divide the money” at a point which could not possibly have been after the rest of the filming?

    Because I could absolutely see something where they were told all along “you’ll split the money evenly”, and only after the competitions had been run would they say “oh wait we changed our minds, the high-scoring player gets to split it”. (Along with a contract clause that says “say anything about this show and you’ll be sued so hard we’ll own your DNA”)

    Voice-over during action? Talking from the narrator/emcee while looking at players? You can’t even trust things with the host speaking and the players are also in the shot, because that could be a pick-up filmed later and cut in during the editing.Report