Bargaining with House

A great bit of dialogue from a recent episode of House.

Dr. Cuddy: All I ask is that you tone it down for a few days.
Dr. House: I want that TV.
Dr. Cuddy: We’re not bargaining.
Dr. House: You want something. Either you’re bargaining or you’re begging.
Dr. Cuddy: Me keeping my job is good for you.
Dr. House: Yes, but it’s better for you. I just want us to be equally happy.

This is an excellent illustration of bargaining with non-transferable utility (that is, when money can’t change hands). Just because two people want the same thing doesn’t mean there isn’t an issue over who gets what.

5 thoughts on “Bargaining with House”

  1. Of course this brings in the issue of credibility. If both gain then House cannot credibly threaten not to behave and end up having Cuddy lose her job.

    So Cuddy should just shrug her shoulders, tell House it is “His choice” and walk off.

    Assuming she believes that House is rational and her losing her job ‘ends the game’.

    Unfortunately missed that episode (House has got rather predictable. They misdiagnose the patient five times then find the correct cure at the last minute on the sixth time.)


  2. But House got the TV in the end, didn’t he? Admittedly after a few more rounds of signalling his willingness to misbehave.


  3. Thanks, Chewxy: must say, seems an eminently reasonable response to late night phone calls from a weirdo.


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