Archive for October 15th, 2013


When political polarization is modeled as a game the result is Chicken. The technical basics are not very complicated.

Reiterated Prisoner’s Dilemma (RPD) is socially integrative. An equilibrium, conforming to maximal aggregate utility, arises through reciprocal convergence upon an optimum strategy: defaulting to trust, punishing defections, and rapidly forgiving corrected behavior. Any society adopting these rule-of-thumb principles consolidates. When everyone norms on this strategy, individual and collective interests are harmonized. Things work.

Chicken is very different. Someone blinks first, so the trust-trust mutual optimum of RPD is subtracted in advance. Rather than the four possible outcomes of a single PD round (A and B do OK, A wins B loses, B wins A loses, A and B both lose) there are just three possible outcomes (A wins B loses, B wins A loses, A and B both lose extremely). In Chicken, it is the avoidance of outcome three, rather than the non-existent chance of PD outcome one, that moderates behavior, and then asymmetrically (someone always blinks first).

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October 15, 2013admin 27 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Discriminations