The Prisoner's Dilemma Makes a Reality TV Appearance

Once in a while, something happens in the real world that brings a flurry of e-mail to the Freakonomics office. If, for instance, the Prisoner's Dilemma, or at least a version thereof, makes an appearance on a network TV show.

The Difference Between Americans and Humans?

The academic psychologist Joseph Henrich brought the Ultimatum game to the Amazon jungle, and found that the Maschiguenga people of southeastern Peru make decisions like economists.

An Economist Plays Monopoly

A few days ago, I appeared on NPR Morning Edition talking about Monopoly (the game, not the market form). Until then I hadn't thought much about the economics of the game (which I played very often as a child, with our sons and for the past five years with our grandchildren).

Game Theory TV

Game theory lessons on YouTube.

The Failure of Yankees Fans (and Mets Fans Too)

I took the family to last night's Yankees-Mets game at the new Citi Field. We had a great time despite the very late hour. (More on that later.) This was the final game of the season between the crosstown rivals. Interleague play means that lots of away-team fans are present in home-team stadiums, and that was very much the case last night -- a scenario that produced at least one interesting result that would disappoint anyone who thinks that game theory always prevails.

An All-Pay Auction

Martin Shubik invented a famous game-theory exercise, sometimes called “the dollar auction,” where a teacher auctions off a $20 bill to the highest bidder. Bids have to be in round dollar amounts, but the twist is that both the highest and the second-highest bidder have to pay. When uninitiated students start to play this game, […]

Apple-Pie Game Theory

Photo: Pinkpoppy We recently presented you with a game-theory puzzle for Beauty and the Geek. Now here’s a real-life story concerning apple pie, a historical example that is admittedly not very complex, but still quite interesting. It’s via Jim Romenesko, citing an article on Medill’s Peck Recalls Giving Pies to Chicago Police in 1968 […]

Our Daily Bleg: Beauty and the Geek Game Theory

We recently received this bleg request from Alon Nir, a regular reader who has contributed to this blog before. He is a young Israeli with a bachelor’s degree in economics and business management who is getting started in the Israeli start-up industry. With this request, he is following firmly in the footsteps of economists who […]

Playing the V.P. Game

A recent headline noted that McCain will likely wait to announce his vice president choice until after Obama picks his. McCain can wait until the Republican convention, which is after the Democratic convention, when Obama must make his choice. This gives McCain the advantage of tailoring his choice’s strengths to whatever weaknesses he sees in […]

The Birth of Parentonomics: A Guest Post

My friend Joshua Gans is one of Australia’s best young economists, and he is also a parent. And as passionate as Joshua is about economics, he’s just as passionate about parenting. While it has always been fun to follow Joshua’s economic musings on his blog, Core Economics, I have been having more fun following his […]