Diseconomies of scope in Track

For those who don’t know I run track and field.  Recently me and my coach were deciding how many races to run at conference, specifically whether to run two or one race.  This is a surprising complicated problem.  This is because there are many factors, the primary two factors are 1.)how runners are in a given race, and 2.)how much the first race will tire me out.  In this decision there are two economic applications/effects; diseconomies of scale and game theory First, let me explain why the number of competitors matter.  Obviously, the more people enter in a races the Continue reading Diseconomies of scope in Track

Gearing Up for 2020: The Median Voter Model

Though we are still more than a year out from the 2020 presidential election, candidates are beginning to kick their campaigns into high gear and political tensions are ever rising. There are constantly headlines surrounding who has entered the race, who has dropped out, and articles that seem to make predictions about where the peoples’ votes will go and how candidates will run their campaigns. One of the biggest questions that voters will get the chance to answer is how the left is going to fare, given more extreme candidates, such as Bernie Sanders, have entered the running. One way Continue reading Gearing Up for 2020: The Median Voter Model

The Utility of Schadenfreude

Recently, in one of my economics classes, the professor decided to have us play a game theory scenario. The first interesting factor to know for context, is that the class consists of a minority of economics majors. The second factor is that the class consists of over 20 students (decently sized for a Puget Sound econ course). The game we played was a basic variable contribution mechanism game, with the class splitting into groups of around 3 and given the opportunity to contribute ‘tokens’ to a group pot to get points for the entire class or keep the ‘tokens’ to Continue reading The Utility of Schadenfreude

Why Running is Becoming (more) Boring; Breakdown Game Theory Style

If you have ever been to a cross country race, or a track meet, you know endurance running is boring.  Runners can be going very slow and it’s hard to know how impressive it is, especially the races that take 20+ minutes. Recently championship races are getting harder and harder to watch, races that had audiences that spanned outside the running community.  Specifically, I’m talking about races such as the olympics, D1 nationals or the IAAF championship. The short answer: the races have been getting slower. The confusing part is that the runners are not getting slower, just these races.  The Continue reading Why Running is Becoming (more) Boring; Breakdown Game Theory Style

Heart of Gold: Game Theory in Game Show “Golden Balls”

Would you trust a complete stranger to cooperate with you when money is on the line? Would you deceive them instead and take the money for yourself? These questions are put to the test on the British TV game show called “Golden Balls”, which ran from 2007 to 2009. After several rounds involving strategizing, cooperating, and lots of golden balls, the final round consists of an all-or-nothing decision between the two finalists. The jackpot will either go to only one of the two contestants, be split in half, or be lost by both players. This is because each finalist has Continue reading Heart of Gold: Game Theory in Game Show “Golden Balls”

Does Your Vote Count?

In light of the quote I included in a recent article about Gary Johnson (and in light of the creeping up date of November 6), “A wasted vote is voting for somebody you don’t believe in”, I sought to find reason behind this statement and ones similar to it surrounding the theory of voting. History would nudge us to believe that some votes don’t “count”. For example, in numbers of U.S. presidential elections the most popular candidate did not win. Why do some economists, specifically, choose not to vote and claim, “voting doesn’t pay”? Game theory states that your vote Continue reading Does Your Vote Count?

The Game Behind North Korea’s Fifth and Largest Nuclear Test

On September 9th, North Korea completed their fifth and largest nuclear test, just fifty miles from the Chinese border. The test was the second this year and a clear example of the increased pace in nuclear trials that Kim Jong Un has been pushing since he inherited power in 2011. The US has attempted to slow this rapidly increasing progression of tests by imposing sanctions and as of July 2016 deploying an advanced missile defense system in South Korea, however, the tests have continued to ensue and now the US is considering placing an embargo on North Korea. According to Continue reading The Game Behind North Korea’s Fifth and Largest Nuclear Test

Game Theory in International Climate Change Politics

Whether it’s in my personal or academic life, I always have this desire to figure out why people do the things that they do. Fortunately, there’s a branch of economics for that. This past fall, I took a microeconomics class where we touched upon a topic that I found especially fascinating called Game Theory. In case you don’t know what it is, Game Theory is a strategy of analyzing decision making wherein a model is made to figure out the optimal strategies for two or more parties in some sort of competitive situation. Game Theory is used not just in economics, but Continue reading Game Theory in International Climate Change Politics

NBAPA’s New Bargaining Ploy

Collective bargaining agreements are three words sports fans never want to hear. When these agreements expire and the door is opened for more negotiations during the offseason, the outcome never seems to turn out well. We generally see negotiations stall over a few key points, and the owners threaten a lockout of the players, and the players threaten to strike, and the outcome generally comes out in favor of the owners. There are a few reasons for the owners’ advanced bargaining position over the players. One, when a lockout or strike occurs, the players are out their salary for that Continue reading NBAPA’s New Bargaining Ploy

Signaling and the Dutch East India Company    

About a month ago, NPR’s podcast planet money aired an episode on shorting the stock market, and specifically, the very first short in the stock market. This may be one of my very favorite episodes they’ve ever done, for two reasons. The first reason is that it represents the beginning of a very interesting (albeit dangerous) phenomenon in the stock market. The second is how signaling gave birth to many of the features of the modern stock market. This second part is interesting, and I’d like to give some explanation as to how it works, and then, how it birthed Continue reading Signaling and the Dutch East India Company