Category Archives: game theory

Brexit game theory

Credit for the current issue of New Scientist for the following;

“Some of the losses on the UK side are already beginning to manifest: several businesses are relocating their activities, anticipating that the negotiations will break down completely and result in a no-deal Brexit. In short, the damages of Brexit are already becoming a reality, at a time when neither of the players in the game seems to be prepared to give any ground in the negotiations – and indeed at a time when both parties claim to be advancing no-deal planning. So why did the UK government and the EU agree yesterday to fresh talks later this month? The answer could lie in both parties’ desire not to take the blame for what appear likely to be formidable economic losses. As things stand, history will probably record Brexit as a mutually damaging divorce between the UK and EU. But we don’t yet know who will take most (or all) of the blame.

In game theoretic terms, the two players are engaged in a war of attrition (or a dynamic game of chicken) where both flex their muscles attempting to convince their opponent to give in first, while both sustain short-term costs as long as the issue remains unresolved.”

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 8th February 2019