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The boy who cried wolf

By mapping out the mechanics of a classic story using game theory, David Huang examines the idea of reputation, its importance and associated strategies.

A Game of Theory: Economics in Television

In our study of economics, it’s not usually too hard to find real life examples of the theories found in textbooks. No other time was I so gleefully reminded of this than when I sat back to watch the third season premiere of the HBO series Game of Thrones this week.

For the economics minded, some questions are open for thought: is the Realm in equilibrium? Are the characters always rational? Should they cooperate or ‘defect’? For everyone else, this might be a fun (read: nerdy) way to think about the economics concepts lurking in our favourite medieval setting.

More than anything, Game of Thrones is a multiplex system of game theory – especially in the secretive chambers of King’s Landing – where we see a series of strategic games or scenarios played out by almost all of the characters.

In fact, each of the four main Houses has their own economics dilemmas to face.

Spoiler alert: Do not proceed if you haven’t seen Season One and Two and still want to. 

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Going, going, gone!

Through our life as an economics major in undergraduate school, for three years we are repeatedly bombarded with consumer and producer theory, game theory, and general equilibrium theory. It is not until we are very familiar with these different topics, do we then come across what is, in my opinion, one of the most interesting topics in microeconomics. Auction theory and mechanism design.

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