Schelling's Game Theory: How to Make Decisions

By Robert V. Dodge | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 11
Musical Chairs and Inescapable
Mathematics

To improve strategic planning and make situations more understandable Schelling frequently uses the metaphor of musical chairs to clarify and analyze social interactions. The metaphor encompasses a broad range of observations and behaviors in which the same patterns emerge in the aggregate regardless of how the individuals who comprise the aggregate behave. Perhaps too general to be thought of as a behavior model, it is more accurately seen as a reference to situations that involve certain inescapable mathematical relationships. Understanding the sometimes simple and at times counterintuitive nature of musical chairs can enable one to foresee relationships and outcomes valuable for rational choice decisions.

Regardless of how well or aggressively it is played, the pattern in musical chairs is always the same—one person always loses when the music stops. That is what he means by saying the same patterns emerge in the aggregate regardless of how the individuals who comprise the aggregate behave. Similarly, a day on the stock market may be described by television analysts as being dominated by “heavy selling” or “heavy buying.” However, a stock is only sold when someone buys it, so the amount of buying and selling is always equal, and the aggregate, or combined, pattern is like musical chairs. It is equal regardless of the behavior of individuals who are involved. Poker also illustrates this characteristic of aggregate outcomes being the same regardless of how well of poorly the individuals play. After all is said and done, when the game is over, the result is always the same; the total winnings and losses always add up to zero.


Paired Phenomena

This general “musical chairs” characteristic can be divided into a number of observations of frequently occurring behavior that may help provide new ways of analyzing problems. One of these observations is “paired phenomena.” Like buying and selling on the stock market, many phenomena occur in pairs. At

-123-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Schelling's Game Theory: How to Make Decisions
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 292

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.