When to bother studying?

Thanks to Frances Woolley for sharing a game theoretic application of students’ effort – The Student’s Dilemma:

 

As Woolley highlights,

The outcome of this game depends upon how the two students value effort and grades. There are three possible scenarios.

If Betty would rather get a B than study, so she prefers (B, no effort) to (A, effort), the optimal strategy for both is to shirk. If Betty is shirking, there is no point in Alice working, because she can get an A without studying. If Alice is shirking, Betty could achieve an A by working, but it’s not worth it to her, because the cost of studying is greater than the benefits of an A. The slackers’ equilibrium will prevail unless Alice actually gets positive enjoyment from studying. As long as Betty is shirking, there is no point in Alice ever working, as she will get an A regardless.

 

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