Stag Hunt

The stag hunt is a model from game theory that serves as a metaphor for risky cooperation. It derives from a story first told by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who wrote that some social situations were like two men going out to hunt for deer. If the two hunters can separate and quietly hold their positions on opposite ends of a long, narrow valley for just a few hours, they’ll surely bring down a stag, an adult male deer. However, if one hunter kills a rabbit and goes home, the deer will hear the noise and escape, so the other hunter will go away deerless and perhaps rabbitless. And if both hunters just kill rabbits and go home, the payoff will be positive but much lower than ...

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