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Battle of the Sexes (Game Theory)

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For other uses, see Battle of the sexes (disambiguation). players of the game have access to a commonly observed

randomizing device, then they might decide to correlate

their strategies in the game based on the outcome of the

In game theory, battle of the sexes (BoS) is a two-player

coordination game. Imagine a couple that agreed to meet device. For example, if the couple could ip a coin be-

fore choosing their strategies, they might agree to corre-

this evening, but cannot recall if they will be attending the

opera or a football match (and the fact that they forgot is late their strategies based on the coin ip by, say, choos-

ing football in the event of heads and opera in the event

common knowledge). The husband would prefer to go

to the football game. The wife would rather go to the of tails. Notice that once the results of the coin ip are

opera. Both would prefer to go to the same place rather revealed neither the husband nor wife have any incentives

than dierent ones. If they cannot communicate, where to alter their proposed actions that would result in mis-

should they go? coordination and a lower payo than simply adhering to

the agreed upon strategies. The result is that perfect co-

The payo matrix labeled Battle of the Sexes (1)" is an ordination is always achieved and, prior to the coin ip,

example of Battle of the Sexes, where the wife chooses the expected payos for the players are exactly equal.

a row and the husband chooses a column. In each cell,

the rst number represents the payo to the wife and the

second number represents the payo to the husband. 1.1 Working out the above

This representation does not account for the additional

harm that might come from not only going to dierent Let us calculate the four probabilities for the actions of

locations, but going to the wrong one as well (e.g. he goes the individuals (Man and Woman), which depend on their

to the opera while she goes to the football game, satisfy- expectations of the behaviour of the other, and the relative

ing neither). To account for this, the game is sometimes payo from each action. These four probabilities are:

represented as in Battle of the Sexes (2)".

The Man goes to the Football (resp. Opera), de-

Some authors refer to the game as Bach or Stravinsky

noted by MF (resp. MO).

and designate the players simply as Player 1 and Player 2,

rather than assigning gender.[1] The Woman goes to the Football (resp. Opera), de-

noted by WF (resp. WO).

1 Equilibrium analysis The Probability that the Man goes to the Football game,

MF, equals the payo if he does (whether or not the

woman does), divided by the same payo plus the payo

This game has two pure strategy Nash equilibria, one if he goes to the opera instead:

where both go to the opera and another where both go to

the football game. There is also a mixed strategies Nash

equilibrium in both games, where the players go to their WO + 3WF WO + 3WF

preferred event more often than the other. For the payos MF = =

WO + 3WF + 2WO + 0WF 3WO + 3WF

listed in the rst game, each player attends their preferred

event with probability 3/5. We know that she either goes to one or the other, so WO +

This presents an interesting case for game theory since W F = 1 , so:

two pure strategy Nash equilibria are unfair; one player

consistently does better than the other. The mixed strat- MF = 13 (WO + 3WF )

egy Nash equilibrium (when it exists) is inecient. The

players will miscoordinate with probability 13/25, leav- Similarly:

ing each player with an expected return of 6/5 (less than

the return one would receive from constantly going to

ones less favored event). MO = 32 WO

2

One possible resolution of the diculty involves the use WF = 3 MF

of a correlated equilibrium. In its simplest form, if the WO = 31 (3MO + MF )

1

2 3 BATTLE OF THE SEXES GAME WITH AMBIGUITY

these, starting with MF for example, by substituting in

the equations above: MO = 0

WF = 23 MF = 2

3

(

1 1

(2 ))

MF = (3MO + MF ) + 3 3 MF WO = 1 2

= 1

3

1

(3 ) 3 3

= MO + 73 MF

3

1

( ) Em = MF WF Emmf wf +MF WO Emmf wo+

= 3 1 + 43 MF MO + MF = 1

MO WO Emmowo + MO WF Emmowf

Solving the last equation for MF yields:

Em = 1 32 3 + 1 13 1 + 0 13 2 + 0 23 0 = 7

3

5

opera and the man chooses randomly with probabilities

Knowing that MF + MO = 1 , we deduce: based on the expected outcome, due to the symmetry in

the value table. But if both players always do the same

thing (both have simple strategies), the payo is just 1

MO = 1 3

= 2 for both, from the table above.

5 5

WF = 23 MF = 2

5

WO = 1 2

5 = 3

5

2 Burning money

Then we can calculate the probability of coordination P c

(that M and W do the same thing, independently), as: Interesting strategic changes can take place in this game

if one allows one player the option of "burning money"

that is, allowing that player to destroy some of her utility.

32 23 12 Consider the version of Battle of the Sexes pictured here

P c = MF WF + MO WO = 5 5 + 5 5 = 25

(called Unburned). Before making the decision the row

And the probability of miscoordination P m (that M and player can, in view of the column player, choose to set re

W do dierent things, independently): to 2 points making the game Burned pictured to the right.

This results in a game with four strategies for each player.

The row player can choose to burn or not burn the money

and also choose to play Opera or Football. The column

P m = MF WO + MO WF = 35 53 + 25 52 = 13 25 player observes whether or not the row player burns and

And just to check our probability working: then chooses either to play Opera or Football.

If one iteratively deletes weakly dominated strategies then

one arrives at a unique solution where the row player does

Pc + Pm = 12

25 + 13

25 = 25

25 =1 not burn the money and plays Opera and where the col-

umn player plays Opera. The odd thing about this result

13

So the probability of miscoordination is 25 as stated is that by simply having the opportunity to burn money

above. (but not actually using it), the row player is able to se-

The expected payo E for each individual ( Em and Ew cure her favored equilibrium. The reasoning that results

) is the probability of each event multiplied by the payo in this conclusion is known as forward induction and is

if it happens. For example, the Probability that the man somewhat controversial. For a detailed explanation, see

goes to football and the Woman goes to football multi- p8 Section 4.5. In brief, by choosing not to burn money,

plied by the Expected payo to the man if that happens the player is indicating she expects an outcome that is bet-

( Emmf wf ): ter than any of the outcomes available in the burned

version, and this conveys information to the other party

about which branch she will take.

Em = MF WF Emmf wf +MF WO Emmf wo+MO WO Emmowo+MO WF Emmowf

Em = 32

5 53 + 33

5 51 + 23

5 52 + 22

5 50 = 39

25 3 Battle of the Sexes Game with

Which is not the same as the 6

5 stated above! Ambiguity

For comparison, let us assume that the man always goes

to football and the woman, knowing this, chooses what to Decisions are said to be ambiguous if there are no ob-

do based on revised probabilities and expected values to jective probabilities given and it is dicult or impossible

her: to assign subjective probabilities to events. Kelsey and

3

ence of ambiguity on behaviour in a Battle of Sexes game

which has an added safe strategy, R, available for Player 2

(see Table). The paper studies the behaviour of subjects

in the presence of ambiguity and attempts to determine

whether subjects playing the Battle of Sexes game prefer

to choose an ambiguity safe option.

The value of x, which is the safe option available to Player

2, varies in the range 60-260. For some values of x, the

safe strategy (option R) is dominated by a mixed strat-

egy of L and M, and thus would not be played in a Nash

equilibrium. For some higher values of x the game is

dominance solvable. The eect of ambiguity-aversion

is to make R (the ambiguity-safe option) attractive for

Player 2. R is never chosen in Nash equilibrium for the

parameter values considered. However it may be chosen

when there is ambiguity. Moreover for some values of x,

the games are dominance solvable and R is not part of the

equilibrium strategy. For a detailed explanation, see .

It was found that R is chosen quite frequently by sub-

jects. While the Row Player randomises 50:50 between

her strategies, the Column Player shows a marked prefer-

ence for avoiding ambiguity and choosing his ambiguity-

safe strategy. Thus, the results provide evidence that am-

biguity inuences behaviour in the games.

4 References

Luce, R.D. and Raia, H. (1957) Games and Deci-

sions: An Introduction and Critical Survey, Wiley &

Sons. (see Chapter 5, section 3).

Fudenberg, D. and Tirole, J. (1991) Game theory,

MIT Press. (see Chapter 1, section 2.4)

The MIT Press.

Study on the Eect of Ambiguity in a Coordination

Game, Theory and Decision.

5 External links

GameTheory.net

G. Wiens

4 6 TEXT AND IMAGE SOURCES, CONTRIBUTORS, AND LICENSES

6.1 Text

Battle of the sexes (game theory) Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_sexes_(game_theory)?oldid=742877958 Contrib-

utors: Ruinia, Sam Hocevar, Danh, Davidbod, Musiphil, Ringbang, Mindmatrix, Kzollman, Bluemoose, Graham87, Eubot, Pete.Hurd,

RussBot, Robbie314, Cyrus Grisham, Arthur Rubin, Reyk, Melchoir, Jswitzer, Btwied, Bluebot, Jrouquie, , Trialsander-

rors, Buckyboy314, Vanisaac, Sewebster, Reywas92, Thijs!bot, AntiVandalBot, Magioladitis, Elexhobby, MartinBot, TXiKiBoT, Eve

Teschlemacher, Zsniew, Quest for Truth, KingShibby, Scorpion451, OKBot, Alexis Brooke M, XLinkBot, Addbot, Yobot, Erel Segal,

Xqbot, GrouchoBot, Greg Tyler, Stpasha, Ergotius, Kulyuhkldsdsfesfsdf, Yausmaam, Serketan, Akerans, SemanticMantis, ClueBot NG,

Cheater no1, Gcc111, BG19bot, Sfarooqui1, The Average Wikipedian, Latiaslee, Song of Spring, Sara Le Roux and Anonymous: 40

6.2 Images

File:Text_document_with_red_question_mark.svg Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a4/Text_document_

with_red_question_mark.svg License: Public domain Contributors: Created by bdesham with Inkscape; based upon Text-x-generic.svg

from the Tango project. Original artist: Benjamin D. Esham (bdesham)

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