Game Theory Context-Rich Problem
This consists of a short essay to be written by students after watching the West Wing episode "Hartsfield's Landing." In it, students are asked to help a friend to understand the content of the show using the basic components of non-cooperative game theory and the prisoner's dilemma. Students will use the game theoretic concepts of strategic interaction and non-cooperative behavior to write a short letter explaining the episode.
1. explain the nature of strategic interaction;
2. explain how game theory can be applied to the different settings in this television episode.
Context for Use
Description and Teaching Materials
You just finished watching the West Wing episode (from Season 3), "Hartsfield's Landing," in which President Bartlet (played by Martin Sheen) plays two extended chess games: one with Sam Seaborne (played by Rob Lowe) while discussing turmoil between China and Taiwan, and another with Toby Ziegler (played by Richard Schiff) while discussing the role of negative campaigning in presidential elections.
Immediately following that episode you wrote a letter to your pen pal in Russia and described how amazing you found that particular episode, and how closely you found it tied to your economics instruction. Your pen pal, however, has never seen the episode, nor has she taken an economics course in her life, but is curious how those concepts fit together. She's asked you to explain to her exactly what you mean. In your next 1 – 2 page letter to her, explain to her how chess, negative campaigning, and armed conflict are connected to your understanding of economic theory.
Game Theory Context-Rich Problem (Microsoft Word 41kB Apr7 09)
Game Theory CRP Grading Rubric (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 12kB May28 09)
Teaching Notes and Tips
1. The concept of strategic interaction between economic players as they relate to the different scenarios;The very good essays will be separated from the good essays with specific examples from the episode, such as verbal cues regarding strategic interaction, i.e., "See the whole board."
2. an explanation of the different strategies of the different participants;
3. How the behavior played is the best strategy against the other.