Prisoner’s Dilemma Game Show

In class last month, we rebooted the idea of the prisoner’s dilemma as previously portrayed on The Bachelor Pad (discussed on the Freakonomics Blog and four years ago on this site). This time, the conversation revolved around a British game show called Golden Balls that was very popular several years ago. I can only assume that you’ve already discounted Golden Balls’ educational value based on its name alone but bear with me . . .

The typical scenario plays out like this: two parties sitting across from one another with one crucial decision that decides how a lump sum of money will be divided. That decision revolves around the four golden balls that sit on the table. Each part can anonymously choose their split ball or their steal ball. If they both steal, they walk away with nothing. If they both split, they split the money. However, if one contestant chooses to split and the other chooses to steal, the thief will walk away with all of the money.

The typical situation ends something like this. But one contestant shows us a unique way to handle the prisoner’s dilemma in this video. Most importantly for class, some good commentary on the second situation can be found here. The class really enjoyed learning the real story behind the winning strategy.  Enjoy the show!

Cross-posted at the ADR Prof Blog.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Patricia Bradford

    This is a great post. Excellent for anyone interested in negotiations, law and economics and/or game theory. Be sure to check out the video and “good commentary” in the third link.

  2. Melissa Greipp

    Does it affect the outcome of the prisoner’s dilemma if the people know each other well and can anticipate how the other would react?

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