Game Theory and Public Policy, SECOND EDITION

Game Theory and Public Policy, SECOND EDITION

Roger A. McCain

This book provides a critical, selective review of concepts from game theory and their applications in public policy, and further suggests some modifications for some of the models (chiefly in cooperative game theory) to improve their applicability to economics and public policy.

Chapter 5: Correlated equilibrium

Roger A. McCain

Subjects: economics and finance, game theory, politics and public policy, public policy


While Nash equilibrium is the central concept in noncooperative game theory, and has many applications, it is not quite the whole story. There are rival solution concepts and applications that are prescriptive rather than diagnostic. This chapter will discuss a major alternative: correlated strategy equilibrium. A few years ago in New Zealand (Bray, 2003), telecommunications companies Teamtalk Ltd and MCS Digital Ltd were embroiled in a lawsuit. If both were to pursue their claims in a court of law, the legal fees would be great enough that both would be worse off. If one knew for certain that the other would pursue his claim, then the best response would be to abandon the claim, to avoid the legal costs. However, neither was certain that the other would withdraw, nor was willing to be the one to withdraw unilaterally. They agreed to settle the difference by arm-wrestling, the winner to take the asset and the loser to abandon his claim. On the face of it, this may seem an irrational procedure, but on more careful consideration it is quite rational. The two businessmen had arrived at a correlated equilibrium solution to their problem.

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