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djcb comments on The Importance of Goodhart's Law - Less Wrong

75 Post author: blogospheroid 13 March 2010 08:19AM

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Comment author: djcb 14 March 2010 10:15:50AM *  21 points [-]

So, in short: incentives can have unintented consequences, as the incentives influence whatever you want to influence with them.

There are a lot of examples of this in e.g. Dan Ariely's book and Freakonomics.

But the best example must be the bizarre 1994 footbal (soccer) match between Barbados and Grenada. Barbados needed to win with a two goal difference.

The special incentive here was that any goal scored in the extra time would count double. Now, shortly before the end of the regular time, it was 2-1 for Barbados. Imagine what happened...

(edit: added the note about the two-goal difference, thanks Hook)

Comment author: Hook 14 March 2010 02:09:53PM 8 points [-]

It's an important note for the soccer game that Barbados needed to win by two points in order to advance to the finals. Otherwise, Grenada would go to the finals. Now people have a chance of imagining what happened.