Deadlock (game theory)

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An example payoff matrix for Deadlock
c1, 10, 3
d3, 02, 2

In game theory, Deadlock is a game where the action that is mutually most beneficial is also dominant. This provides a contrast to the Prisoner's Dilemma where the mutually most beneficial action is dominated. This makes Deadlock of rather less interest, since there is no conflict between self-interest and mutual benefit.

Game theory is the study of mathematical models of strategic interaction between rational decision-makers. It has applications in all fields of social science, as well as in logic and computer science. Originally, it addressed zero-sum games, in which one person's gains result in losses for the other participants. Today, game theory applies to a wide range of behavioral relations, and is now an umbrella term for the science of logical decision making in humans, animals, and computers.

General definition

ca, bc, d
de, fg, h

Any game that satisfies the following two conditions constitutes a Deadlock game: (1) e>g>a>c and (2) d>h>b>f. These conditions require that d and D be dominant. (d, D) be of mutual benefit, and that one prefer one's opponent play c rather than d.

Like the Prisoner's Dilemma, this game has one unique Nash equilibrium: (d, D).

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