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Seinfeld Economics: The Pez Dispenser (Hand)

by Linda Ghent

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 Pez Dispenser (Hand)

George is dating a pianist. He needs “hand,” as she is clearly the alpha member of the pair. Kramer suggests a preemptive breakup. George analyzes—if she accepts the breakup, there's no loss, as she was going to break up with him anyway. If she rejects the breakup, he will have established himself as the alpha member. Therefore, the preemptive breakup is a dominant strategy. It works; he gets a high payoff.

from Seinfeld, Season 3 (1992)
Creator: Larry David & Jerry Seinfeld
Posted by Linda Ghent
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