Flagler’s Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Yvan Kelly, recently had two articles on game theory published in two different journals, according to a report received by Historic City News today.
Kelly’s article, “The Myth of Scheduling Bias with Back-to-Back Games in the NBA,” was published in the “Journal of Sports Economics” in September 2009. He researched and wrote the paper after studying five seasons of data from National Basketball Association schedules.
Kelly has been with Flagler College since 1989. While working at the college he was also a scout for the Seattle Supersonics for five years beginning in 1999. His interest in applying game theory to potential scheduling bias arose when he noticed that certain teams were playing games two nights in a row. Most of the time, he noted, they would lose the second game.
“Teams get tired and they’ve been traveling,” said Kelly. “They’re not left with much time to practice or rest in between games. So the conspiracy theorists wondered, ‘are back-to-back games being rigged by the NBA?’ I found out that it was not.”
Kelly said he used the game theory application to determine the outcome of his research.
In a synopsis of his paper, Kelly observed that “although differences in the number of back-to-back games do result in a slight variation in competitive balance, one positive externality is that these types of games reduce travel costs by millions of dollars per year.”
Kelly’s article, “Mises, Morgenstern, Hoselitz, and Nash: The Austrian Connection to Early Game Theory,” was published in “The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics.” His article examines the connection between Ludwig von Mises and early contributors to game theory, including John F. Nash, Jr. Nash was one of the big founders in the game theory field, and he was also the subject of the film, “A Beautiful Mind.”
Kelly said that the main focus of his paper is to prove that there is a link between the Austrian school of thought in economics and game theory.
“Game theory is not just about you,” he said. “It’s also about what your opponent expects you to do and what you expect your opponent to do as well. So, it’s the players of the game reacting to what they anticipate the other player may do.”
Kelly teaches a course at Flagler on game theory, as well as economics of sport.