zero-sum game

(redirected from Zero-sum games)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia.
Related to Zero-sum games: Constant sum game

Zero-sum game

A type of game wherein one player can gain only at the expense of another player.
Copyright © 2012, Campbell R. Harvey. All Rights Reserved.

Zero-Sum Game

A situation where the gain of one person equates to the loss of another person. That is, for every dollar one person makes in a zero sum transaction, another person loses a dollar. Not every transaction is a zero sum game; stock trading is not because some trades are mutually beneficial to the buyer and the seller. Options and commodity markets, however, are zero sum games because wealth cannot be created from these transactions, only shifted. See also: Wealth creation.
Farlex Financial Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All Rights Reserved

zero-sum game

A situation in which one person's gain must be matched by another person's loss. Without considering taxes and transaction costs, many types of investing, such as options and futures, are examples of zero-sum games.
Wall Street Words: An A to Z Guide to Investment Terms for Today's Investor by David L. Scott. Copyright © 2003 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. All rights reserved.

zero-sum game

a situation in GAME

THEORY where game players compete for the given total pay-off, so that gains by one player are at the direct expense of the other player(s). For example, here two firms compete against each other in a mature market where total sales are not expanding, then each firm can increase its sales and market share only at the expense of its competitor.

Collins Dictionary of Economics, 4th ed. © C. Pass, B. Lowes, L. Davies 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
RFRA claims under the Eagle Act provide a paradigmatic example of the zero-sum game. The Eagle Act prohibits, among other things, the taking, possession, and sale of eagles and eagle parts, except as permitted by the Secretary of the Interior.
[T]he burden on religion is inescapable; the only question is whom to burden and how much." (71) In other words, it's a zero-sum game. Antoine did not seek to alleviate the overall burden on religion; rather, he sought to shift his religious burden to someone else.
Granting the religious exemption from the Controlled Substances Act in O Centro, the court reasoned, "did not have any effect on other people's religion." (75) It did not present a zero-sum game. In Eagle Act cases, in contrast, alleviating the defendants' burden would merely shift that burden to tribal members.
Like O Centro, Hobby Lobby did not concern a zero-sum game. RFRA claims in the Eagle Act context, however, necessarily set up a zero-sum game, because alleviating one person's religious burden shifts an equal religious burden to someone else.
The Eagle Act provides a stark example of a zero-sum game, because what is shifted from the claimant to the third party is the religious burden itself.
In the anti-discrimination context, for example, religious exemptions can present a clear zero-sum game in situations where either the religious employer has to hire the covered individual or it's exempted from that requirement, and someone else gets the job.
Thus, like Hobby Lobby, the majority did not see Wheaton College as presenting a zero-sum game.