Who is the Economatheek?

I suppose you've had some trouble interpreting my nom de plume, The Economatheek. It's simple, though. It's a makeup word composed by the three parts economics, mathematics and geek. It says, if not all, at least some of it.

Being a math-inclined law-and-business student among the polar bears and huskies of Sweden, I spend the long winters studying a wide range of sources, only connected by the fact that they're not actually on the curriculus. I've developed an interest in the shortcomings of mainstream economic theory and the fallacies that affect much of our thinking. I find the inherent uncertainty that impregnate every aspect of social and economic life, but which is widely assumed away in mainstream economic theory, quite intriguing and I feel that this is where focus needs to be set.

Besides from this, I also harbour a great interest in game theory, probability theory, statistics, and many more topics. There will be plenty of all of those topics here as time goes by.

In order not to scare our newcoming visitors off, let's start out slow:

The Monty Hall problem, popularized by columist and author Marilyn vos Savant, proves an intricate problem to most on their first acquaintance with it. Expecting at least some of my visitors to have already read, solved and understood the problem in it's basic formulation, I shall say that there is a twist to this one. So stay with me.

It's friday night, and you're standing by the bar in the local pub. From the shadows, a skinny, bearded man emerges, introducing himself as The Economatheek. Holding up a $100 bill, he asks the bartender for three coffee cups, and after receiving the cups, he asks you to look away. The bartender, who you trust as an honest man, serves as a witness as The Economatheek puts the three cups upside down with the $100 bill under one of them.

You are now told to chose one of the cups. If the bill is, indeed, to be found under that particular cup, it will be yours. You chose one of the cups, but just as you're about to lift it, the skinny man tells you to wait. He then lifts one of the other cups, to reveal that there is no bill under that particular cup. Thereafter, he asks you if you still want to go for the cup that you initially chose, or if you want to switch to the other one that has yet not been lifted.

So, what is your choice, and why? Please, share your thoughts in the comments.

Also, please excuse my English. Being brought up by polar bears, English was not the first language I learned. I will not take offence from remarks on my language, rather the opposite. After all, life as a geek is all about learning.

The next entry on this topic: The Monty Hall problem, continued
External links in this post:
Official website of columnist and author Marilyn vos Savant.


Anonymous said...

You should switch. The probability that you picked the right cup first is 1/3, so its 2/3 that the bill is in one of the other cups. Knowing that the cup is not in one of them doesnt change that. If you switch the probability is 2/3.

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