Sunday, June 3, 2007

Game Theory: Application - Toilet Seat Politics

Toilet Seat Politics refers to the annoyance that most women encounter:
"The toilet seat was left up and now I have to put it down because I can't pee standing up. Those BASTARDS!".

In the defence of men, I feel women should at least understand why some like it that way.
I would argue that men like the seat up because it is more convenient to stand, as we are quick in there anyway.
Although I like it down, I remember that I live with a female/(society with females), and that I should put the seat down. BUT AT WHAT COST!

This article relates this societal problem to game theory and claims that
Putting the seat back up in inefficient!

In this paper, we show conclusively that the social norm of leaving the toilet
seat down after use decreases welfare and by doing that we hope to convince the
reader that social norms are not always welfare enhancing. Hence, there is a
case for scientifically examining social norms and educating the masses about
the fallacy of following social norms blindly.


I was first introduced to game theory in Economics. To learn more see: Nash Equilibrium.

5 comments:

Karen said...

Seriously people, just put the toilet seat cover down, this way it's exactly equal: everyone will have to lift something up. But more importantly, this will reduce the production of aerosols of fecal bacteria-contaminated water during flushing.

Andy said...

I would think that aerosolization would be much worse during the, erm, act, itself, rather than during flushing. Flushing is a smooth, continuous flow.

Arcana said...

Have you heard of the Traveler's Dilemma?

Andy said...

I haven't.

Maggie said...

Well written article.