Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Payoff matrix

A payoff matrix is a construct in game theory which shows what outcome or "payoff" a player (or possibly two or more players) will receive, depending on the actions of that player, and any other player(s) or the state of the world.

2-player matrix for the Prisoner's dilemma:
Here, the payoff is one's sentence (time in jail) - lower is better.

Cooperate6 months, 6 months10 years, no time
Defectno time, 10 years5 years, 5 years

2-player matrix for the Game of Chicken:
Here, the higher the payoff, the better. "Cooperation" means swerving.

Cooperate0, 0-1, +1
Defect+1, -1-20, -20

External link