Public Choice

, 141:481

Governance as a strategy in state-of-nature games


DOI: 10.1007/s11127-009-9465-4

Cite this article as:
Briggeman, J. Public Choice (2009) 141: 481. doi:10.1007/s11127-009-9465-4


Public choice scholars routinely claim that coercion can be used to solve the social dilemma. However, while social contract theorists have frequently described state-of-nature societies using game theory, they have not used game theory to show how coercive action within such societies can improve outcomes. Here I operationalize the concepts of coercion and governance within a Prisoners’ Dilemma (PD) framework; governance is operationalized as coercion to compliance, and to adopt a coercive strategy is to impose a strategy choice upon another player. I show that, under certain conditions, adding governance strategies to a noncoercive one-shot PD game can improve outcomes.


Governance Coercion Prisoners’ Dilemma Game theory Thomas Hobbes State of nature Anarchy Public choice 

JEL Classification

C72 D7 H1 H41 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA

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