prisoner's dilemma

(redirected from prisoner's dilemmas)
Also found in: Dictionary, Medical.

Prisoner's Dilemma

A classic problem in game theory. In the problem, two suspects are arrested and questioned separately by police. If one accuses the other while the other remains silent, the accuser will go free and the silent party will go to jail for 10 years. If each accuses the other, both go to prison for five years. If both remain silent, they only go to jail for one year. According to the dilemma, the rational response for each of the prisoners is to accuse the other (maximizing the possibility each will go free), even though this produces an irrational result (that both go to jail for five years).

The prisoner's dilemma is used to explain a variety of economic and political phenomena when all parties involved are self-interested, rational and have imperfect information. For example, two companies may compete for a promising employee. They offer increasingly attractive salaries. If one company gives up, the other company will take the employee. So both quite rationally increase the offers. This however could produce the irrational result that a new employee is paid too highly. The prisoner's dilemma seeks to explain why rational actions sometimes lead to irrational conclusions.
Farlex Financial Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All Rights Reserved

prisoner's dilemma

Collins Dictionary of Economics, 4th ed. © C. Pass, B. Lowes, L. Davies 2005
Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
This is clear throughout the book as Bowles discusses experimental games, such as the Prisoner's Dilemma, where defecting is assumed to be the self-interested option and cooperating the altruistic.
The primary story here is the prisoner's dilemma. (17) On this version of the way things are, the citizens of individual states want to develop a particular regulatory regime, but competition between states prevents them from doing so.
Just as the narrative of experimentation supplements the decentralized diversity narrative, so too the narrative of externalized costs supplements the prisoner's dilemma narrative.
"The Dilemma of the Prisoner's Dilemmas," Kyklos, 58, 1, pp.
"N-Person Prisoner's Dilemmas," Journal of Mathematical Sociology 2, 1, pp.
Interestingly, Frank, an economist, wanted to see if economists responded differently than noneconomists to prisoner's dilemma scenarios.
Table 1: Tree Maintenance as a Prisoner's Dilemma Pay Don't Pay Pay 30 -10 Don't Pay 40 0 The game is a prisoner's dilemma and the dominant strategy for each neighbor is to pay nothing.
The basic game used to examine international purchases will be the prisoner's dilemma.
Instead of modeling such decisions on the prisoner's dilemma, Rabe and Gillroy propose an assurance-game model in which universal cooperation, rather than being a free rider, is the preferred choice.
The tragic thing about the prisoner's dilemma is that if both prisoners confess, they would both go to prison for a couple of years.
Despite a useful review of the existing debate within international political economy regarding the conditions necessary and sufficient to achieve and maintain trade openness, and a rigorous effort to explain how the ability to impose optimum tariffs constitutes a prisoner's dilemma in international trade relations, the book falls short of its ambitious goals.