Diner's Dilemma

Definition of 'Diner's Dilemma'


A game-theory situation with several players. Similar to a prisoner's dilemma, a diner's dilemma occurs when several participants attempt to obtain the highest possible personal reward, but instead find themselves in an unfavorable situation.

The diner's dilemma is based on a situation where several people agree to split the bill before going out to eat. By following a logical course of action, every member of the group finds him- or herself ordering dishes more expensive than what they would normally buy, and they all end up facing the outcome they tried to avoid: a more expensive meal.

Investopedia explains 'Diner's Dilemma'


For example, prior to going out for dinner, Steve, Dave and Arthur decide that they will split the bill equally. Since the restaurant offers a wide mix of expensive and reasonably priced items, the three friends are faced with a tough decision. Arthur, who would not normally purchase the expensive items, figures that since his costs will be distributed between the other members, today he can afford to do so. Dave and Steve use the same logical reasoning. As a result, the three friends end up spending more money than they would have liked.



comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. Organic Growth

    The growth rate that a company can achieve by increasing output and enhancing sales. This excludes any profits or growth acquired from takeovers, acquisitions or mergers. Takeovers, acquisitions and mergers do not bring about profits generated within the company, and are therefore not considered organic.
  2. Family Limited Partnership - FLP

    A type of partnership designed to centralize family business or investment accounts. FLPs pool together a family's assets into one single family-owned business partnership that family members own shares of. FLPs are frequently used as an estate tax minimization strategy, as shares in the FLP can be transferred between generations, at lower taxation rates than would be applied to the partnership's holdings.
  3. Yield Burning

    The illegal practice of underwriters marking up the prices on bonds for the purpose of reducing the yield on the bond. This practice, referred to as "burning the yield," is done after the bond is placed in escrow for an investor who is awaiting repayment.
  4. Marginal Analysis

    An examination of the additional benefits of an activity compared to the additional costs of that activity. Companies use marginal analysis as a decision-making tool to help them maximize their profits. Individuals unconsciously use marginal analysis to make a host of everyday decisions. Marginal analysis is also widely used in microeconomics when analyzing how a complex system is affected by marginal manipulation of its comprising variables.
  5. Treasury Inflation Protected Securities - TIPS

    A treasury security that is indexed to inflation in order to protect investors from the negative effects of inflation. TIPS are considered an extremely low-risk investment since they are backed by the U.S. government and since their par value rises with inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, while their interest rate remains fixed.
  6. Gilt-Edged Switching

    The selling and repurchasing of certain high-grade stocks or bonds to capture profits. Gilt-edged switching involves gilt-edged security, which can be high-grade stock or bond issued by a financially stable company such as the Blue Chip companies or by certain governments.
Trading Center