Here is an article of how business journalists and academics interact.
Game theory is the fun-sounding branch of economics introduced in the 1940s by Hungarian genius John von Neumann and developed in the 1950s by Princeton’s John Nash, subject of the 2001 Oscar-winning film A Beautiful Mind.
In the end, none of our experts had a concrete example. But many offered the same advice: “Ask Preston McAfee” — an economist at the California Institute of Technology and perhaps the country’s foremost working game theorist (he designed that government spectrum auction). He was more encouraging: “There are lots of examples,” he emailed, agreeing to an interview.
We reached the professor in his office at Caltech. “So,” we asked, “what are all these examples of game theory applied to real life?” There was a silence on the line. “Well,” he said, “a lot of companies hired game theorists to prepare for those spectrum auctions.” Okay — but what about nongovernment auction situations? “I don’t know of any companies that employ pure game theorists — but maybe they’re keeping it quiet.”
I would have liked to listen in on some of the interviews. I do wonder if the article tells us more about the experts or more about the journalist. Some of the comments on digg are good, some are amusing.