In game theory, the unscrupulous diner's dilemma (or just diner's dilemma) is an n-player prisoner's dilemma. The situation imagined is that several people go out to eat, and before ordering, they agree to split the cost equally between them. Each diner must now choose whether to order the costly or cheap dish. It is presupposed that the costlier dish is better than the cheaper, but not by enough to warrant paying the difference when eating alone. Each diner reasons that, by ordering the costlier dish, the extra cost to their own bill will be small, and thus the better dinner is worth the money. However, all diners having reasoned thus, they each end up paying for the costlier dish, which by assumption, is worse than had they each ordered the cheaper.
Game theory is the study of mathematical models of strategic interaction in 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 each participant's gains or losses are exactly balanced by those of 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.
In game theory, an n-player game is a game which is well defined for any number of players. This is usually used in contrast to standard 2-player games that are only specified for two players. In defining n-player games, game theorists usually provide a definition that allow for any (finite) number of players.
The prisoner's dilemma is a standard example of a game analyzed in game theory that shows why two completely rational individuals might not cooperate, even if it appears that it is in their best interests to do so. It was originally framed by Merrill Flood and Melvin Dresher while working at RAND in 1950. Albert W. Tucker formalized the game with prison sentence rewards and named it "prisoner's dilemma", presenting it as follows:
Two members of a criminal gang are arrested and imprisoned. Each prisoner is in solitary confinement with no means of communicating with the other. The prosecutors lack sufficient evidence to convict the pair on the principal charge, but they have enough to convict both on a lesser charge. Simultaneously, the prosecutors offer each prisoner a bargain. Each prisoner is given the opportunity either to betray the other by testifying that the other committed the crime, or to cooperate with the other by remaining silent. The offer is:
Let a represent the joy of eating the expensive meal, b the joy of eating the cheap meal, k is the cost of the expensive meal, l the cost of the cheap meal, and n the number of players. From the description above we have the following ordering . Also, in order to make the game sufficiently similar to the Prisoner's dilemma we presume that one would prefer to order the expensive meal given others will help defray the cost,
Consider an arbitrary set of strategies by a player's opponent. Let the total cost of the other players' meals be x. The cost of ordering the cheap meal is and the cost of ordering the expensive meal is . So the utilities for each meal are for the expensive meal and for the cheaper meal. By assumption, the utility of ordering the expensive meal is higher. Remember that the choice of opponents' strategies was arbitrary and that the situation is symmetric. This proves that the expensive meal is strictly dominant and thus the unique Nash equilibrium.
In game theory, the Nash equilibrium, named after the mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr., is a proposed solution of a non-cooperative game involving two or more players in which each player is assumed to know the equilibrium strategies of the other players, and no player has anything to gain by changing only their own strategy.
If everyone orders the expensive meal all of the diners pay k and the utility of every player is . On the other hand, if all the individuals had ordered the cheap meal, the utility of every player would have been . Since by assumption , everyone would be better off. This demonstrates the similarity between the diner's dilemma and the prisoner's dilemma. Like the prisoner's dilemma, everyone is worse off by playing the unique equilibrium than they would have been if they collectively pursued another strategy.
Gneezy, Haruvy, and Yafe (2004) tested these results in a field experiment. Groups of six diners faced different billing arrangements. In one arrangement the diners pay individually, in the second they split the bill evenly between themselves and in the third the meal is paid entirely by the experimenter. As predicted, the consumption is the smallest when the payment is individually made, the largest when the meal is free and in-between for the even split. In a fourth arrangement, each participant pays only one sixth of their individual meal and the experimenter pay the rest, to account for possible unselfishness and social considerations. There was no difference between the amount consumed by these groups and those splitting the total cost of the meal equally. As the private cost of increased consumption is the same for both treatments but splitting the cost imposes a burden on other group members, this indicates that participants did not take the welfare of others into account when making their choices. This contrasts to a large number of laboratory experiments where subjects face analytically similar choices but the context is more abstract.
The tragedy of the commons is a situation in a shared-resource system where individual users, acting independently according to their own self-interest, behave contrary to the common good of all users, by depleting or spoiling that resource through their collective action. The theory originated in an essay written in 1833 by the British economist William Forster Lloyd, who used a hypothetical example of the effects of unregulated grazing on common land in Great Britain and Ireland. The concept became widely known as the "tragedy of the commons" over a century later due to an article written by the American biologist and philosopher Garrett Hardin in 1968. In this modern economic context, "commons" is taken to mean any shared and unregulated resource such as atmosphere, oceans, rivers, fish stocks, roads and highways, or even an office refrigerator.
In the Abilene paradox, a group of people collectively decide on a course of action that is counter to the preferences of many or all of the individuals in the group. It involves a common breakdown of group communication in which each member mistakenly believes that their own preferences are counter to the group's and, therefore, does not raise objections. A common phrase relating to the Abilene paradox is a desire not to "rock the boat". This differs from groupthink in that the Abilene paradox is characterized by an inability to manage agreement.
In probability theory and statistics, the binomial distribution with parameters n and p is the discrete probability distribution of the number of successes in a sequence of n independent experiments, each asking a yes–no question, and each with its own boolean-valued outcome: success/yes/true/one or failure/no/false/zero. A single success/failure experiment is also called a Bernoulli trial or Bernoulli experiment and a sequence of outcomes is called a Bernoulli process; for a single trial, i.e., n = 1, the binomial distribution is a Bernoulli distribution. The binomial distribution is the basis for the popular binomial test of statistical significance.
In computational mathematics, an iterative method is a mathematical procedure that uses an initial guess to generate a sequence of improving approximate solutions for a class of problems, in which the n-th approximation is derived from the previous ones. A specific implementation of an iterative method, including the termination criteria, is an algorithm of the iterative method. An iterative method is called convergent if the corresponding sequence converges for given initial approximations. A mathematically rigorous convergence analysis of an iterative method is usually performed; however, heuristic-based iterative methods are also common.
In signal processing, a digital filter is a system that performs mathematical operations on a sampled, discrete-time signal to reduce or enhance certain aspects of that signal. This is in contrast to the other major type of electronic filter, the analog filter, which is an electronic circuit operating on continuous-time analog signals.
Pareto efficiency or Pareto optimality is a state of allocation of resources from which it is impossible to reallocate so as to make any one individual or preference criterion better off without making at least one individual or preference criterion worse off. The concept is named after Vilfredo Pareto (1848–1923), Italian engineer and economist, who used the concept in his studies of economic efficiency and income distribution.
In abstract algebra, a splitting field of a polynomial with coefficients in a field is the smallest field extension of that field over which the polynomial splits or decomposes into linear factors.
In probability theory and statistics, the Bernoulli distribution, named after Swiss mathematician Jacob Bernoulli, is the discrete probability distribution of a random variable which takes the value 1 with probability and the value 0 with probability that is, the probability distribution of any single experiment that asks a yes–no question; the question results in a boolean-valued outcome, a single bit whose value is success/yes/true/one with probability p and failure/no/false/zero with probability q. It can be used to represent a coin toss where 1 and 0 would represent "heads" and "tails", respectively, and p would be the probability of the coin landing on heads or tails, respectively. In particular, unfair coins would have
In the calculus of variations, the Euler–Lagrange equation, Euler's equation, or Lagrange's equation, is a second-order partial differential equation whose solutions are the functions for which a given functional is stationary. It was developed by Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler and Italian mathematician Joseph-Louis Lagrange in the 1750s.
An Egyptian fraction is a finite sum of distinct unit fractions, such as
In numerical analysis, the speed at which a convergent sequence approaches its limit is called the rate of convergence. Although strictly speaking, a limit does not give information about any finite first part of the sequence, the concept of rate of convergence is of practical importance when working with a sequence of successive approximations for an iterative method, as then typically fewer iterations are needed to yield a useful approximation if the rate of convergence is higher. This may even make the difference between needing ten or a million iterations.
In mathematics, linearization is finding the linear approximation to a function at a given point. The linear approximation of a function is the first order Taylor expansion around the point of interest. In the study of dynamical systems, linearization is a method for assessing the local stability of an equilibrium point of a system of nonlinear differential equations or discrete dynamical systems. This method is used in fields such as engineering, physics, economics, and ecology.
In game theory, cheap talk is communication between players that does not directly affect the payoffs of the game. Providing and receiving information is free. This is in contrast to signaling in which sending certain messages may be costly for the sender depending on the state of the world.
The rate law or rate equation for a chemical reaction is an equation that links the reaction rate with the concentrations or pressures of the reactants and constant parameters. For many reactions the rate is given by a power law such as
In probability theory and statistics, the continuous uniform distribution or rectangular distribution is a family of symmetric probability distributions such that for each member of the family, all intervals of the same length on the distribution's support are equally probable. The support is defined by the two parameters, a and b, which are its minimum and maximum values. The distribution is often abbreviated U(a,b). It is the maximum entropy probability distribution for a random variable X under no constraint other than that it is contained in the distribution's support.
In quantum physics, the spin–orbit interaction is a relativistic interaction of a particle's spin with its motion inside a potential. A key example of this phenomenon is the spin–orbit interaction leading to shifts in an electron's atomic energy levels, due to electromagnetic interaction between the electron's magnetic dipole, its orbital motion, and the electrostatic field of the positively charged nucleus. This phenomenon is detectable as a splitting of spectral lines, which can be thought of as a Zeeman effect product of two relativistic effects: the apparent magnetic field seen from the electron perspective and the magnetic moment of the electron associated with its intrinsic spin. A similar effect, due to the relationship between angular momentum and the strong nuclear force, occurs for protons and neutrons moving inside the nucleus, leading to a shift in their energy levels in the nucleus shell model. In the field of spintronics, spin–orbit effects for electrons in semiconductors and other materials are explored for technological applications. The spin–orbit interaction is one cause of magnetocrystalline anisotropy and the spin Hall effect.
In probability theory and intertemporal portfolio choice, the Kelly criterion, Kelly strategy, Kelly formula, or Kelly bet is a formula for bet sizing that leads almost surely to higher wealth compared to any other strategy in the long run. The Kelly bet size is found by maximizing the expected value of the logarithm of wealth, which is equivalent to maximizing the expected geometric growth rate. The Kelly Criterion is to bet a predetermined fraction of assets, and it can be counterintuitive. It was described by J. L. Kelly, Jr, a researcher at Bell Labs, in 1956. The practical use of the formula has been demonstrated.
In probability theory, the Chinese restaurant process is a discrete-time stochastic process, analogous to seating customers at tables in a Chinese restaurant. Imagine a Chinese restaurant with an infinite number of circular tables, each with infinite capacity. Customer 1 sits at the first table. The next customer either sits at the same table as customer 1, or the next table. This continues, with each customer choosing to either sit at an occupied table with a probability proportional to the number of customers already there, or an unoccupied table. At time n, the n customers have been partitioned among m ≤ n tables. The results of this process are exchangeable, meaning the order in which the customers sit does not affect the probability of the final distribution. This property greatly simplifies a number of problems in population genetics, linguistic analysis, and image recognition.
In numerical linear algebra, the Alternating Direction Implicit (ADI) method is an iterative method used to solve Sylvester matrix equations. It is a popular method for solving the large matrix equations that arise in systems theory and control, and can be formulated to construct solutions in a memory-efficient, factored form. It is also used to numerically solve parabolic and elliptic partial differential equations, and is a classic method used for modeling heat conduction and solving the diffusion equation in two or more dimensions. It is an example of an operator splitting method.
In numerical linear algebra, a convergent matrix is a matrix that converges to the zero matrix under matrix exponentiation.
Ayelet Gneezy is an associate professor of marketing at the Rady School of Management, UC San Diego.