El Hoyo (The Platform)

Media Type: Film Clips Topic: Game Theory

Click here to watch the clip. *Caution: contains graphic content*

El Hoyo is a Spanish psychological/horror film set in a vertical prison with each level consisting of two prisoners. In the middle of the tower, there is a platform filled with food that descends through every level for two minutes, so that the prisoners can feed. The catch, however, is that as the platform descends, less food is left for the prisoners on the bottom floors. This film can be used to teach the tragedy of the commons: if the prisoner's agree to ration what they eat, there would be enough food for everyone in the tower. But the food is considered a common resource, so there is no incentive to share. This film could also be used to teach game theory. By agreeing to ration what they eat, the prisoners are pursuing the Pareto optimal outcome but there is no enforcement mechanism, so the dominant strategy is to defect or cheat by eating as much as they can. Clip suggested by Tereza Rascon ( University of Arizona)

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