Two Comics for Friday

If you are not subscribed to these two comics, then this will be new to you.  If you already have them on your RSS feed, well, you get to suffer their propagation.*  The ever-linkable XKCD offers the rational incentives on leaving reviews for hotels (and other places). Poor reviews may drive demand down, which should lower the price of your consumption. SMBC, often delving into philosophy, science, and economics, has offered two economics-related comics in the past two days. Yesterday's comic posits the economists value of humans versus other objects and today's comic offers a, perhaps obvious, comic on the incentives Continue reading Two Comics for Friday

Jonathan’s Card Has Ended

Penny Arcade, a comic that usually discusses video games and the video game industry, weighs in on Jonathan’s Card–apparently, homo economicus can gain utility by not only defecting and receiving the largest share possible, but also gains utility purely by gaming the experiment. Unfortunately, it appears the test has come to an end (Starbucks deactivated the card) due to abuse and apparent fraud in the experiment (perhaps Tycho-types have won).  The premise of the project was to have a publicly available Starbuck’s card that anyone could use. The card started with a balance and anyone with a smart phone could use Continue reading Jonathan’s Card Has Ended

Poker is a game of skill

The New York Times (this may cost you one of your monthly alloted articles) reports on a new article by Levitt and Miles that argues that poker is a game of skill and not a game of chance.  The policy-relevant implications for the study deals with legalization – several prohibitions against poker are codified with terminology that prohibits gambling and randomized lotteries while allowing for skilled based gaming. The authors track a set of known players from the 2010 World Series of Poker (WSOP).  The study indicates that "good" poker players do get returns on their tournament buyins (seen as Continue reading Poker is a game of skill

700 Fresh Posts to read…

Traveling for Thanksgiving gave me the opportunity to abandon my daily reading schedule and come back to a stockpile of new posts to read.  The highlights thus far from the last 5 days: – Flowing Data has a chart contest. The winner receives two Tufte books.  Entries are due on Friday. – Andrew Gelman has a interesting stroy of his undergraduate academic years that lead to his publishing a paper from those days over two decades later.  If only my undergraduate work was methodologically related to my background now. – Rodger at The Duck of Minerva watches the History Channel; Continue reading 700 Fresh Posts to read…

Trade Diversion is up for an award, needs your vote.

Jonathan Dingel (www.tradediversion.net) is up for a substantial scholarship for blogging and, apparently, is the only economics-based blog up for the scholarship.  Given that there are also no other quantitative political science or formal theory blogs available (there are plenty of normative politics blogs, though) and his posts are actually useful academically, I encourage you to give him your vote as well.  Vote here. View the finalist list of 20. He has a bit of work to do since he is about 1,000 votes behind a baseball blog about the Seattle Mariners.  I would encourage other like-minded blogs to also Continue reading Trade Diversion is up for an award, needs your vote.

Who would an economist vote for?

Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, has commissioned and released the results of a survey of economists on a range of issues and candidates choice for the 2008 election.  This was partly prompted by earlier statements by Clinton and McCain that neither candidate would not throw their lot in with economists and Adams decided to see what economists really thought: We asked the economists which candidate for president would be best for the economy in the long run. Not surprisingly, 88 percent of Democratic economists think Democratic Sen. Barack Obama would be best, while 80 percent of Republican economists pick Republican Sen. Continue reading Who would an economist vote for?

Pirates, the Dark Knight, and more Game Theory

Presh Talwalkar at Mind Your Decisions has posted a decent piece on another game theoretic situation from the opening scene in the Dark Knight (contains mild spoilers): The original plan of equal division is flawed. Each robber has incentive to increase his share by killing a fellow team member. Once a member performs his job, he loses his negotiating power and value to the team. The Joker plays off this conflict by instructing the robbers to take out fellow teammates once their tasks are performed. The game would be different if the robbers were a group and they repeated crimes together—perhaps an even split could be Continue reading Pirates, the Dark Knight, and more Game Theory

The Dark Knight and Game Theory

If you have not already seen The Dark Knight, then you should read this post at a later time as to avoid spoilers after the jump.  Otherwise, follow the jump for a game theoretic discussion derived from the movie that has already broken two box office records for both best midnight opening and top first day revenue.  I personally enjoyed the movie immensely, but that discussion does not follow. So, officially, consider this a spoiler alert for what follows.

Do Deployed US Troops foster Economic Growth?

While browsing newly posted articles at the Social Science Research Network, I came across this paper by Garett Jones and Tim Kane.  The abstract: In the midst of a major U.S. military effort in Iraq and the Middle East, economists should be able to assess the relationship between U.S. troops and growth.   The necessity of military force in providing security for nation-building is a common assumption among policymakers and international affairs experts, but there has never been an econometric analysis of the impact of troops on growth. We use a newly constructed disaggregated dataset on the deployment of U.S. troops over the Continue reading Do Deployed US Troops foster Economic Growth?

Prisoner’s Dilemma Answers

I posted previously that Freakonomics was hosting a Prisoner’s Dilemma contest.  About a week ago they selected the top five answers and had a quick voting contest (comment democracy with 48 hours to decide the winner).  Since I am both currently attending one of the EITM summer programs and exercising my current mathematical knowledge by attempting to run a maximum likelihood estimation of a generalized Prisoner’s Dilemma model with a normally distributed cost function to the players for cooperation; it seemed like a good time to return to the post and evaluate the answers provided. Adding a pre-game to the Continue reading Prisoner’s Dilemma Answers