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Seinfeld Economics: The Barber (George's Job)

by Linda Ghent

Cost-benefit analysis involves, whether explicitly or implicitly, weighing the total expected costs against the total expected benefits of one or more actions in order to choose the best or most profitable option. Rational agents are assumed to never take an action for which the expected benefits are less than the expected costs.

Game theory attempts to mathematically capture behavior in strategic situations, or games, in which an individual's success in making choices depends on the choices of others. Game theory has been used to study a wide variety of human and animal behaviors. It was initially developed in economics to understand a large collection of economic behaviors, including behaviors of firms, markets, and consumers. The use of game theory in the social sciences has expanded, and game theory has been applied to political, sociological, and psychological behaviors as well.

In game theory, a dominant strategy is a strategy that is better than another strategy for one player, no matter how that player's opponents may play. 

Seinfeld: The Barber (George's Job)

George thinks he has been offered a job, but the man offering it to him got interrupted in the middle of the offer, and will be on vacation for the next week. George, unsure whether an offer has actually been extended, decides that his best strategy is to show up. If the job was indeed his, this is the right move. But even if the job is not, he believes that the benefits outweigh the costs.

from Seinfeld, Season 5 (1993)
Creator: Larry David & Jerry Seinfeld
Posted by Linda Ghent
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