A recent comment by Jason about "cheat Scrabble" reminded me of this SciAm article that gives a nice explanation of why people cheat in terms of game theory, and sparked my idea for this series of posts (Thanks Jason!). Here are a few notes I grabbed from the key concepts:
Game theory highlights why it is rational for professional cyclists to dope: the drugs are extremely effective as well as difficult or impossible to detect; the payoffs for success are high; and as more riders use them, a “clean” rider may become so noncompetitive that he or she risks being cut from the team.
The game theory analysis of cycling can readily be extended to other sports. The results show quantitatively how governing bodies and antidoping agencies can most effectively target efforts to clean up their sports.