Flu vaccination

Flu vaccination - March 17, 2007 Pricking consciences What...

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March 17, 2007 Pricking consciences What is good for the individual is not always best for society MATHEMATICIANS like to play games. In particular, they like to play games that examine how people pick ways of behaving that will maximise returns. One such mathematician is John Nash, who won a Nobel economics prize for his work on the subject. He demonstrated that there are games (the most famous being known in the trade as "prisoner's dilemma") where the players can arrive at a situation now known as a Nash equilibrium. This is the point at which no one has anything to gain by changing his strategy unilaterally. A Nash equilibrium, however, is rarely the best possible outcome; it is merely the one that pertains if the players are unable or unwilling to co-operate. That insight has found wide application in both the social and the biological sciences. The latest example is a paper published in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, by Alison Galvani, of Yale University, and her colleagues. Dr Galvani looked at a classic example of a case where the best choice for the individual may not lead to an optimal outcome for society: vaccination. The vaccination programme Dr Galvani studied was for influenza in America, a country where people
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This note was uploaded on 04/21/2011 for the course ECON 1001 taught by Professor S.c during the Fall '10 term at HKU.

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Flu vaccination - March 17, 2007 Pricking consciences What...

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