David Dixon

David Dixon, a visiting lecturer in the Department of Economics, talks about game theory Wednesday, Oct. 28 at 12 p.m. on the first floor of Parish Memorial Library.

Game theory provides some very simple yet instructive examples of extreme outcomes from simple interactions according to Dixon. Yet even the lose-lose Nash equilibrium of the Prisoner's Dilemma game is transformed if the game is repeated between the same players. Similarly, when simple games are played on a network - a network of friends, for example - repeated-game dynamics arise.

This talk presents the results of computer simulations of a very simple game played on various kinds of networks. There are two basic games which, when all players have the same social contingency payoff, the entire network comes to a Nash equilibrium where everyone is happy with their choice. To these games are added three types of players with disruptive payoffs - sheep, contrarians, and saboteurs. The simulations show that even small percentages of the disruptive players can distort outcomes significantly. The results also imply that, of the three, the sheep can be most disruptive.

Dixon has a Ph.D. in Economics and an MS in Physics, both from UNM, and a BA in Physics from University of Vermont. Dixon only recently achieved his lifelong calling as an academic after 40 years in computational research. His research interests include natural resource economics, climate change, network game theory, and agent-based simulation.