1st August 2011
Puzzle: Why do people play games?
Can anyone refer me to a good academic paper (economic analysis) that demonstrates why people play and watch games? (e.g. soccer/cricket)
Half the people who watch the game (assuming equal number of supporters) receive a disutility from the loss, half gain utility, the net social utility is zero. So the game should not start off in the first place.
On the other hand, if India is playing a game of soccer with some tiny country (Bahrain/Cameroon?) and India loses, then a lot more people become unhappy than those who become happy (in the tiny country). So why don't markets award the results of a game based on the number of supporters?
This is a puzzle.
I know this sounds silly (and one can think of a lot of reasons), but it is still worth exploring this further, in a more formal setting.
in other words, I'm looking for a published, mathematical theory of games (not game theory).