College Papers

Game interaction, game theory has also been applied

Game  theory  is  a  powerful  tool  for  modeling  the  interactions  of  individual  decision makers,   including   the stakeholders   in   humanitarian   supply   chain   systems. A branch   of mathematics long used  in  economics  and  political  science to model human  interaction, game theory has also been applied to commercial supply chains to maximize value optimize cooperative  efforts, and  form  marketing  strategy ,all  of  which are  also  relevant  in humanitarian  operations. Game  theory models decentralized decision  makers  as  players  in  a  game,  each  of  whom makes  decisions according to the game’s structure and his own goal. The game’s outcome represents the results of interactions between decision makers. A game theory model, or simply a ‘game’, consists of several elements. The first is a set of players, each with a set of strategies from which to choose. Each player also maintains a goal, often expressed mathematically as a utility function to optimize. The combination of strategies chosen by all players determines the outcome of the game and the consequences, or payoff, to each player according to his utility function. In a game theory model of humanitarian operations, players represent stakeholders or decision makers, such as NGOs, government agencies, donors, or beneficiaries. Examples of payoffs in this context include minimized costs, efficient delivery of services, accurate demand estimation, number of beneficiaries reached, funds raised, and the level of public awareness created

Government   and   military   entities participation  impacts   many   humanitarian operations. The  most  frequent  humanitarian  contexts  in  which  governmental  and  non-governmental  organizations  interact  are  in  cases  of  population  displacement  across  borders  and in  settings  where  both  NGO  and  military  groups  operates. Game  theory  provides  tools  to  model the  interactions  between  governmental  and  non-governmental  decision  makers,  who  may  have conflicting objectives.  Games are also  used  to  model  government  investments  in  disaster defense.

Various contract structures for non-profit fundraising have also been modeled using game theory. Castaneda et al. (2008) argue for contracting with donors to stabilize an organization’s income. They model competition for donations as a three-stage dynamic game between charitable organizations and potential donors.

Game theory can also be be applied to guide decisions about investments in security and stability and allow supply chain managers to prepare for natural and man-made disruptions.

Each humanitarian response occurs within a particular political context, meaning that the motivations and actions of political actors shape the response environment. This is true whether the entity in question is a host country government, foreign government, military authority, or militant group. When a government or military organization engages in relief operations, they bring a host of resources and skills. On the other hand, political realities also mean that the safety of humanitarian personnel is a major concern in some regions. For instance, 90 aid workers were murdered in Afghanistan alone between 2003 and 2006 (Olson, 2006). Games provide a tool to model ways that objectives and actions of political entities may impact humanitarian supply chain operations. Future research could lead to models that enable humanitarian logisticians to identify potential threats and vulnerabilities and develop strategies to increase supply chain security.