Thursday, November 20, 2008

The beautiful blonde and the beautiful mind

You may remember the bar scene in the Beautiful Mind, the movie based on Sylvia Nasar's biography of John Nash. You may not know that the equilibrium for the beautiful blonde game from the bar scene has been studied Simon Anderson and Maxim Engers in a paper that appeared in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization in 2007. Here's an ungated version.

It's immediately obvious that the proposed equilibrium in the movie isn't the equilibrium -- if the proposal was successful in convincing his buddies to go for the brunettes the fictional Nash could have moved in on the blonde. Anderson and Engers answer the question: so what is the equilibrium (actually, what are the set of equilibria)?

Anderson and Engers also remind us of a point made by Hal Varian who is now chief economist at google:
In the movie, the fictional John Nash described a strategy for his male drinking buddies, but didn't look at the game from the woman's perspective, a mistake no game theorist would ever make. A female economist I know once told me that when men tried to pick her up, the first question she asked was: ''Are you a turkey?'' She usually got one of three answers: ''Yes,'' ''No,'' and ''Gobble-gobble.'' She said the last group was the most interesting by far.
But now that that is known, is it still an effective way to screen for interesting men? Ask a game theorist.


Anonymous sex shop said...

The chap is absolutely just, and there is no question.

2:33 PM  

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