Theory and Decision

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 231–260

On arguments from self-interest for the Nash solution and the Kalai egalitarian solution to the bargaining problem

  • Luc Bovens

DOI: 10.1007/BF00129149

Cite this article as:
Bovens, L. Theor Decis (1987) 23: 231. doi:10.1007/BF00129149


I argue in this paper that there are two considerations which govern the dynamics of a two-person bargaining game, viz. relative proportionate utility loss from conceding to one's opponent's proposal and relative non-proportionate utility loss from not conceding to one's opponent's proposal, if she were not to concede as well. The first consideration can adequately be captured by the information contained in vNM utilities. The second requires measures of utility which allow for an interpersonal comparison of utility differences. These considerations respectively provide for a justification of the Nash solution and the Kalai egalitarian solution. However, none of these solutions taken by themselves can provide for a full story of bargaining, since, if within a context of bargaining one such consideration is overriding, the solution which does not match this consideration will yield unreasonable results. I systematically present arguments to the effect that each justification from self-interest for respectively the Nash and the Kalai egalitarian solution is vulnerable to this kind of objection. I suggest that the search for an integrative model may be a promising line of research.

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luc Bovens
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyNational Foundation for Scientific Research (Belgium) Katholieke Universiteit te LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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