Applying Game Theory in Libraries: Review and Preview

By Zhong, Ying; Hegde, Aaron | Library Philosophy and Practice, August 2008 | Go to article overview

Applying Game Theory in Libraries: Review and Preview


Zhong, Ying, Hegde, Aaron, Library Philosophy and Practice


Introduction

Game theory is the study of how people behave in strategic situations. It is concerned with "how rational individuals make decisions when they are mutually interdependent" (Romp, 1997). "Game" in this context means "sport of any kind," and therefore implies two or more players and a set of rules. The outcome of a game depends on the player him or herself, as well as other players. The root of game theory can be traced to philosophical and political works such as Plato's Republic, in which Socrates worries that "a soldier is better off running away regardless of who is going to win the battle" and "if all of the soldiers reason this way--then this will certainly bring about the outcome in which the battle is lost" (Ross, 2006).

The development of game theory is well summarized as "a conjunction of indirections: ideas, both in mathematics and in economics whose implications and fruitfulness were not understood, dramatizations of concepts for the wrong reasons, and fruits in applications not originally considered" (Arrow, 2003). Von Neumann is considered the founder of game theory (Von Neumann and Morgenstern 1944), including the "minimax" theorem, which is a way of " minimizing the maximum possible loss" (Minimax 2008). It was John Nash's definition and proof of existence for the equilibrium point, however, that exerts the direct impact of game theory on economics.

Strategic games commonly involve three important aspects: players, strategies, and payoffs. The players are "the individuals who make the relevant decisions"; strategies refer to "a complete description of how a player could play a game"; and the pay-offs are "what a player will receive at the end of the game, contingent upon the actions of all the players in the game" (Romp, 1997). As a result, the player will choose a strategy that yields the maximum payoff. Several assumptions are required to understand game theory: individualism, rationality, and mutual interdependence.

The simplest form of game theory is a two-person game. Since each player can choose one of two strategies, the two players will reach four possible decisions as a joint effort. There are three prototypes of two-person game: Prisoner's dilemma, Chicken, and Assurance. Prisoner's dilemma is also known as a game of cooperation, because each player needs to cooperate with the other in order to yield the "dominant" strategy (i.e., the efficient outcome). The following is an explanation of prisoner's dilemma.

Prisoner's dilemma: Two suspects, say Bonnie and Clyde, are arrested for a crime. Lacking sufficient evidence to charge both, the police need at least one of the suspects to confess. To facilitate questioning and possibly get a confession, the police separate the suspects. Each of them is given two choices: confess or not confess. Both are made aware of the consequences of the two choices. Consequences for each prisoner depend on what the other does (confess or not). Consequences are displayed in Table 1.

If Bonnie and Clyde both confess, then each is sentenced to 10 months in prison (the first number in brackets is Bonnie's sentence while the second number is that of Clyde). If one confesses and the other does not, the confessor is released while the non-confessor receives the maximum sentence (20 months). If neither Bonnie nor Clyde confess, then they are held on a technicality for one month and later released. This cell (Do Not Confess, Do Not Confess) is an efficient outcome since it leads to a situation where the two suspects have the lowest combined sentence. If, however, Bonnie confesses and Clyde is made aware of it, then it is in Clyde's best interest also to confess, because he would only get 10 months instead of 20.

In fact, regardless of what Bonnie chooses to do, it is in Clyde 's best interest to confess. "Confess" is a dominant strategy for Clyde. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

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 article

This article 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 article

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

Cited article

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 article

Applying Game Theory in Libraries: Review and Preview
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

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

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.

    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.