If you’ve studied game theory, you’ve probably come across the mixed-motive coordination game, a simple one-shot game in which two representative actors have to figure out how to coordinate so as to find a mutually beneficial equilibrium – but have different interests over which equilibrium they choose. And if you studied it a couple of decades ago, you very likely have heard it referred to as “the battle of the sexes,” a term that has fallen out of common usage, for obvious reasons. But when I read Tyler Cowen’s short piece on the actual historical struggle between women and men for recognition, I was immediately was reminded of Jack Knight’s argument, based on mixed-motive coordination games, for why power is more important to the emergence of social rules than most economists think. [click to continue…]