The Prisoner’s Dilemma: Introducing Game Theory

  • The Prisoner’s Dilemma: Introducing Game Theory

    Doug J. Shaw and Catherine M. Miller
    Portraying real-world situations, students rank possible outcomes and analyze strategies in variations of an iconic problem.
    Since 1950, the Prisoner’s Dilemma has intrigued economists and amused fans of mathematics. It presents a situation in which two players acting to their own advantage do not do as well together as two players whose actions oppose their individual interests—hence, the dilemma. Variations of the Prisoner’s Dilemma have appeared in diverse circumstances, from television police dramas to analysis of political negotiations. Along with the scenarios presented here, we consider settings from the movie The Dark Knight (2008), students’ take-home exams, and the Tragedy of the Commons in additional examples in an online supplement.
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