Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Game Theorist Take on No Snitches

There is a classic economics example called the prisoner’s dilemma. Picture an episode of Law and Order or the Wire, two criminals in separate interrogation rooms. They are asked to confess to a crime, if they confess they’ll get less jail time, but if somehow they can both manage not to confess both will be better off.

The example is used to show that confessing is better for each individual, but when they both do confess they are worse off. In response to this situation a “stop snitchin’” movement has started up (basically snitchin’ is implementing others in crime). In an economic sense if the “stop snitchin’” movement is powerful enough then confessing may no longer be best for a given individual. The movement includes t-shirts and DVDs. Including the recently released Stop Snitchin’ 2 video, which is being critized by the media and police, here is a link to a youtube preview (the video contains adult language).

Unfortunatly the stop snitchin' movement has a negative effect on members of the community too (article).


Game Theorist said...

That is actually a good example of the prisoner's dilemma in a (infinitely) repeated setting.

Tom said...

My idea beats "no snitching". Was originated to deal with traffic law.

It's about money. Cities and states acrue allot of revenue via tickets and the way to handle this is not to get mad, but to get even. Everyticket you receive is redeamable for one NOT Guilty verdict the next time you serve on a jury. You will never see the other eleven people again and it costs the state a fortune, definitely more than your ticket, to re-try the case. The lost revenue cuts into the raises the police receive and upgrades to equipment required to do the job. When you are on a jury you have more power than anyone else in the courtroom INCLUDING the judge.
Use that power.