OUR GAME THEORY PODCAST

In Game Changer, the podcast by TWS Partners, we want to share our enthusiasm and passion for game theory and its applications. Guests from industry and academia discuss the power of game theory in their profession and how they use it to make a difference. Along the way we strive to offer fun anecdotes, useful facts and valuable insights. Hear us out and find out that game theory is much more than a topic for ivory tower discussions.

 

THE ECONOMIST’S BRAIN: TRACING CHOICES WITH NEUROECONOMIC INSIGHTS | WITH JUAN D. CARRILLO
February 13, 2024
February 13, 2024

In this episode, we explore together with our guest Juan D. Carrillo the confluence of economics and neuroscience in understanding human decision-making processes. We delve into how the combination of these two disciplines can illuminate the biological basis of decision making, with a particular focus on complex scenarios like multi-task decision making, self-control, and impulsivity. Juan shares insights from his papers, discussing the innovative approach of neuroeconomic theory and its real-world applications.

 

Juan D. Carrillo is a Professor of Economics at the University of Southern California and a Research Fellow in the Industrial Organization and Public Policy programs at the Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR). His research spans Neuroeconomic Theory and Experimental Economics, blending insights from neuroscience and economics to understand decision-making processes. Additionally, Juan co-directs the Los Angeles Behavioral Economics Laboratory (LABEL), focusing on experimental research in economic decision-making and strategic interactions.

You can find out more about his research on his homepage and read the papers that are discussed in this episode here and here.

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FEEDING AMERICA – ALLOCATING FOOD TO FOOD BANKS WITH INNOVATIVE MARKET MECHANISMS | WITH CANICE PRENDERGAST
January 30, 2024
January 30, 2024

In this episode, we discuss with Canice Prendergast how market design mechanisms can be applied in social services. Canice shares how he collaborated with Feeding America on optimally allocating about 300 million pounds of food per year to hundreds of food banks across the United States. They were developing a market-based allocation mechanism introducing an internal currency to bid for available food on a daily basis. Canice shares the process itself as well as many anecdotes on its development and introduction.

Canice Prendergast is W. Allen Wallis Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He is an economist specialising in economic theory, labour economics, and organizational behaviour.

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DOES OPAQUE AI LEAD TO A CATASTROPHE? – A GAME THEORIST’S VIEW | WITH JEFFREY ELY
January 16, 2024
January 16, 2024

In this episode, we discuss with Jeff Ely a topic that has gotten significant public attention last year with the introduction of Chat GPT and similar programmes: The role of AI. Jeff shares his research with Balazs Szentes on a natural selection model on AI. They set up a model to study the AI control problem in the context of decentralized economic production. The study illustrates the importance of AI transparency as already deviating from ‘perfect transparency’ leads to catastrophic consequences. In our discussion he shares all details of the model, and we also discuss potential consequences for future development of AI technology.

 

Jeff Ely is the Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Economics at Northwestern University. With interests ranging from pure game theory to behavioral economics, Jeff has made significant contributions to various facets of economics, including mechanism design and the evolution of preferences. You can find the paper titled “Natural Selection of Artificial Intelligence”, which he wrote together with Balazs Szentes, here.

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SPLIT OR STEAL? EXPERIMENTS ON LIES AND SELF-DECEPTION | WITH MARTA SERRA-GARCIA
January 02, 2024
January 02, 2024

In this episode, we explore with Marta Serra-Garcia the paradoxes of human behavior in the realms of self-deception and lie detection. Marta’s research, rooted in behavioral and experimental economics, questions why lying persists in a society that values morality. We delve into her experiments that examine how people reconcile their self-image with material interests, the timing of incentive information in ethical decision-making, and the effectiveness of algorithms in detecting deception.

 

Marta Serra-Garcia is an Associate Professor of Economics and Strategy at the UC San Diego Rady School of Management. Specializing in behavioral and experimental economics, her acclaimed work focuses on the dynamics of ethical decision-making and its influence on behaviors like lying and charitable giving. A prolific researcher, Marta’s work has been published in esteemed journals, earning her a place among the 2020 Best 40 under 40 MBA Professors.

You can find her paper on self-deception here and her paper on lie detection here.

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FORTUNE’S FAIRNESS: THE SUPER-RICH’S VIEW ON INEQUALITY | WITH ALAIN COHN
December 19, 2023
December 19, 2023

In this episode, our guest Alain Cohn helps us to understand the complex relationship between wealth and perceptions of fairness in society. We explore his innovative research methodology, which move beyond traditional surveys to more accurately reflect the nuances of economic behaviors. The conversation also highlights the differences in attitudes towards inequality among the wealthy, particularly contrasting those with inherited wealth and the newly affluent. Through Alain’s studies, we gain a deeper understanding of the dynamics at play between wealth, fairness, and policy influence in today’s society.

Alain Cohn is Associate Professor at the University of Michigan School of Information, focused on the social and psychological determinants of economic behaviors. His work has significantly contributed to our understanding of honesty, financial risk-taking, and the impact of wealth on fairness perceptions and redistribution policies.

In the episode, we also briefly mention the ultimatum game and the dictator’s game. If you want to find out more about these games, you can also check out our episode on first offers in bargaining with Lionel Page.

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UNION NEGOTIATORS ARE GAME THEORISTS – 2023 UAW STRIKE AND ITS OUTCOMES | WITH MARC ROBINSON
December 05, 2023
December 05, 2023

In this episode, our guest Marc Robinson, strategy and risk management expert, shares details on the recent UAW strikes and negotiations. With his rich background in the automotive industry and his experience as an economist at General Motors in the past, Marc observed the recent negotiations from a Game Theorist perspective. He shares the key success factors for the UAW to complete the union negotiations in their favor ranging from historical developments to changes in the UAW’s strategic moves compared to past union negotiations. We also discuss the broader implications of these negotiations for the automotive industry, its supply chain, and future union negotiations.

 

Marc Robinson works as an independent strategy and risk management consultant, following a career as an internal consultant and economist at General Motors. It was there that he first introduced game theoretic concepts and tools, applying them to a vast range of applications such as strategic product or investment decisions, or negotiations with partners, suppliers, and unions. He also taught at UCLA and Stanford and worked on the Council of Economic Advisers under President George H.W. Bush.

If you want to read more on the 2023 UAW strikes, you can check out Marc’s website https://www.csuitenewsletter.com/, where he covered the topic extensively in several blog posts.

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(NUCLEAR) DETERRENCE AS A GAME THEORETIC CONCEPT | WITH FRANK ZAGARE
November 21, 2023
November 21, 2023

In this episode we are talking to Frank Zagare about deterrence. The term gained popularity in particular during the cold war to describe the role of nuclear weapons in Soviet-American relations and, in light of recent events, has surfaced again. Together with Frank we look at the concept from a Game Theoretic perspective and discuss the shortcomings of the classical way of modeling deterrence. Frank then walks us through his alternative theory, perfect deterrence theory. He explains to us how it differs from classical way of modeling and which insights it offers on the war in Ukraine.

 

Frank Zagare is UB Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University at Buffalo and author of several books like ‘The Dynamics of Deterrence’ and ‘Game Theory, Diplomatic History and Security Studies’ among others.

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WOULD YOU RETURN A LOST WALLET? – ECONOMIST’S PERSPECTIVE ON HONESTY | WITH MICHEL MARÉCHAL
November 07, 2023
November 07, 2023

In this episode we are talking to Michel Maréchal about honesty from an economist’s perspective. He shares with us two studies he has conducted on honesty: Firstly, we talk about a mega-study in which Michel and his colleagues have tested in more than 300 cities around the globe with more than 17000 wallets whether people would rather return lost wallets if there were a higher or lower amount of money in them. Secondly, he shares a lab experiment in which he studied whether humans are more honest when interacting with other humans versus interacting with machines. Both studies give an understanding on human’s behaviour when being incentivized to being dishonest.  

 

Michel Maréchal is a Visiting Professor of Economics at the Rady School of Management, UC San Diego and Professor of Economics at the Department of Economics from the University of Zürich. His research is interdisciplinary and lies at the intersections of economics, social psychology, criminology, political science and biology.

Here you can find Michel’s papers on civic honesty and honesty in the digital age. You can also check out his website for other research topics he is currently working on.

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IN PLAIN SIGHT – WHY SIMPLICITY SHOULD BE CONSIDERED IN GAME THEORETIC CONCEPTS | WITH SHENGWU LI
October 24, 2023
October 24, 2023

In this episode we are talking to Shengwu Li about simplicity in game theoretic concepts. He explains to us, what simple means in this context, how this notion facilitates application of game theory to the “real world” and what an obviously dominant strategy is. We discuss how this understanding of game theory can be particularly helpful when conducting auctions and what practitioners need to know beyond that to harness game theory’s predictive powers.

 

Shengwu Li is Associate Professor of Economics at Harvard University. His research is focused on Microeconomic Theory, Market Design and Behavioral Economics.

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PICKING UP SPEED – HOW COMPANIES CAN MAKE HEADWAY IN REACHING CO2 TARGETS | WITH DANIEL HELMIG
October 10, 2023
October 10, 2023

For many companies reaching their self-imposed CO2 targets has become quite a tall order. While procurement has tried to rise to the occasion progress is often slow. In this episode we are talking to Daniel Helmig who explains to us how companies can get unstuck and move forward in reaching their CO2 targets. We discuss what the past can teach us about possible solutions, which three important questions CEOs and other leaders should answer for an honest assessment of their situation and what gradual progress for companies could look like in the future.

 

Daniel Helmig is founder and Managing Director of the Helmig Advisory, which supports organizations in uncovering hidden potential in their supply chain, procurement, or operations area. Prior to this he held positions such as Corporate Transformation Leader, Group Head of Operations & Quality, Chief Procurement Officer, Senior Vice President, and Managing Director in five different industries.

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