Applied Game Theory Between City and Occupy Fredericton

Mayor Woodside, Arthur Taylor, André Faust (Charles Leblanc photo)

Analysis of interactive strategies  effects on public perception

By André Faust

Game theory developed by John von Neumann “is the study of the ways in which strategic interactions among the  players produce outcomes with respect to the preferences (or utilities) of those players, where the outcomes in question might have been intended by none of the players.” (Ross 2011)

Whether or not the parties are conscious that they are  applying strategies to achieve is not relevant  to  the game, it’s the behaviors that are generated from the interaction between the players and the effects of the behaviours, However, game theory is not limited to human interactions but to study other behavioural interactions.

“As a method of applied mathematics, game theory has been used to study a wide variety of human and animal behaviors. It was initially developed in economics to understand a large collection of economic behaviors, including behaviors of firms, markets, and consumers. The use of game theory in the social sciences has expanded, and game theory has been applied to political, sociological, and psychological behaviors as well.

Game-theoretic analysis was initially used to study animal behavior by Ronald Fisher in the 1930s (although even Charles Darwin makes a few informal game-theoretic statements). This work predates the name “game theory”, but it shares many important features with this field. The developments in economics were later applied to biology largely by John Maynard Smith in his book Evolution and the Theory of Games.

In addition to being used to describe, predict, and explain behavior, game theory has also been used to develop theories of ethical or normative behavior and to prescribe such behavior.In economics and philosophy, scholars have applied game theory to help in the understanding of good or proper behavior. Game-theoretic arguments of this type can be found as far back as Plato.” (Wikipedia Nov 26, 2011)

Payoff Matrix

So how is Game theory applicable to the relationship between the City of Fredericton and Occupy Fredericton?  First one has to view it in terms of pay off, in this particular situation the aspect will be used and that is + or – public perception for this game strategy. Mind you there are also other game strategies  that are simultaneously taking place as well.

Once the two parties made their primary declarations various strategies were adopted.  The Mayor asked Occupy to leave the premises voluntarily, Occupy Fredericton responded no to his Worships’ request , but offered to voluntarily downsize.

The following game is played on how the public will perceive each of the parties pending what each of the parties do. Using the above matrix as an illustration to what the probable expectations are going to be. Green represents Occupy and Red the City.  So, if the city were to say no to downsizing and Occupy agree not two down size, they both assume the risk that the public will see them in the negative.  If Occupy changes it’s position not to downsize and the city is supports downsizing, then Occupy is seen in the negative and the city is seen in the positive. Thirdly, iIf Occupy  maintains its position to down side and the city says no to down sizing,  then Occupy will be seen in the positive and the city in the negative and fourthly, if Occupy follows through with the downsizing and the city accepts  the downsizing then the city and occupy will be seen in the positive, however, there exist the chance the outcomes could be different then what is expected, do to extraneous reasons, that is the chance factor. The logic of the behaviors is that occupy should downsize and the city accept the downsize, so the payoff would at least hypothetically the best payoff for the two parties in terms of public perception.


Ross, Don, “Game Theory”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <>.

Game theory. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved November 26, 2011, from

Photo Credit
Charles Leblanc’ Other Blog Retrieved November 26, 2011 from

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