Prisoners’ Dilemma: Eating Out with Friends

Recently a group of friends and myself went out to dinner and determined before hand to split the bill equally between the four of us. What became apparent was how to decide which menu item to select, bearing in mind that if i intended on eating the best meal possible it would be more expensive and my compatriots would be footing a larger bill. Assuming the more expensive the menu item the more enjoyment I would get out of the meal; however, my friends would suffer from my enjoyment by having to pay more than they were expecting to. The Prisoners’ dilemma takes hold of this same situation as everyone at the table has the same incentive to enjoy a more expensive meal yet everyone else will suffer. This dilemma will often lead to collusion as everyone’s decision is closely monitored by the others at the table, and disgruntled friends will always find a way to make the dishonoring individual feel their fault later on. Most likely buying the table a round of drinks as punishment.

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