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Game Theory and Auctions in Divorce
This article from “The Economist” discusses the use of intricate game theory used to model and predict highly influential real world events. While these models are really amazing, I would like to talk about an example given in the article on how game theory can help negotiate divorce settlements. In this example both the husband and wife are given a set number of “points” to rank their value of the objects that are going to be split. This method prevents a player from coming back to the negotiations later claiming they deserved higher compensation because they wanted something more than their ex spouse did.
This set up creates the potential for a very complex strategy combining both game theory and auctions. In this scenario it might be tempting to try and predict how your opponent (ex spouse) is likely to rank the objects and from there play one point higher in order to have more points to divvy up amongst the other goods. However, I believe your best option is to play honestly like you would in any other auction. By trying to predict what your opponent is going to play you risk losing something you really want, and instead receiving an object you didn’t want instead of an appropriate compensation. While this game involves more possible options and outcomes it is fundamentally related to what we have learned, and with this basis we could be the next de Mesquita predicting what the world is going to be doing next.


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