Jun 11th 2009 By: Laura Hudson
A mysterious economist known only as ShadowBanker (really!) has used his mathematical skills to analyze supervillain decision-making in Batman comics. In his first post, titled "Batman Villains and Cooperation: A Utility Analysis
," he describes why the supervillain teamups in Jeph Loeb's Batman stories like "The Long Halloween" and "Dark Victory" don't work at all, according to game theory. (And he shows his work!)
Now, we analyze the expected utility of the team-up. We know that the probability of the Joker, Two-Face and the Scarecrow killing Batman is 0.0538. The utility would be 3.33 each. Hence:
EU = 0.0538*(3.33) + (0.9462)*0 = 0.179
Hence the expected utility for the Joker of the trio killing Batman is 0.179.
In another post
, ShadowBanker uses the Prisoner's Dilemma
to analyze whether or not supervillains like Mr. Freeze and Two-Face should betray each other if they did manage to capture Batman. There are many helpful matrices!
Now it would benefit both of them to continue working together, but neither of them will actually do so. Hence they'll walk away with less than what they could have... It's sort of funny to think about, actually. Batman can still claim a small victory even in his death.