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Monday, September 8, 2008

I guess I'm learning

After a weekend spent consolidating my knowledge and doing practice tests, I don't think I can prepare much more for tomorrow's test. The practice questions which I've found difficult are mostly special cases which are not covered in detail by the textbook or the notes, but which can be worked out with a little careful thinking and intuition. It's fairly certain that there will be one of these tomorrow, and equally certain that I can't prepare for it except by making sure I know the basic theory really well.

In today's lecture we started on contract theory, a complete departure from game theory in that contract theory allows the players to talk to each other (in game theory they select strategies more or less blind and often get horribly burned as a result). Already I'm a whole lot warmer over this new approach. It seems so much more related to actual economics than the noncooperative, sometimes blatantly irrational stuff we've been looking at so far.

At the end of the lecture Jack announced that there was time spare to do a worked example to help us prepare for the test. The guy next to me asked for a particular question from a previous test, then muttered the answers under his breath the whole time Jack was doing the example. It was unbelievably annoying. If you know the answers, why ask for the question? If you think your answers are wrong, why risk drowning out the correct answers by telling the wrong ones to yourself?

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