The Game of Chicken
I assume that mentioning the game of Chicken conjures up an image of crazed teenage boys in a destructive form of drag racing: driving their cars toward each other to see who “chickens out” first, or perhaps driving the cars in parallel toward a cliff’s edge.
The game theory version captures this behavior. It’s not that we want to emulate foolish teenagers; it’s that numerous situations of personal or political interaction have the feature that the side that does not back down from a confrontation emerges victorious.
One appealing version of the story comes from Ken Binmore. You must have maneuvered a car in a situation where two lanes of heavy traffic narrowed into one. You are slightly ahead of the other car but they ...