Evolution and utilitarianism: Social contract III

  • Ken Binmore


The paper takes the simplest possible bargaining game as a paradigm for the coordination problem—i.e. the problem of selecting an equilibrium when many are available. The aim is to explore the circumstances under which evolution will lead to a utilitarian conclusion.


Economic Theory Social Contract Coordination Problem Bargaining Game Utilitarian Conclusion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. R. Aumann (1987) “‘Correlated Equilibrium’ as an Expression of Bayesian Rationality.”Econometrica 55: 1–18.Google Scholar
  2. T. Axelrod (1984)The Evolution of Cooperation. Basic Books: New York.Google Scholar
  3. K. Binmore (1987/1988) “Modeling Rational Players, I and II.”Economics and Philosophy 3: 179–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. K. Binmore (1988a) “Game Theory and the Social Contract.” STICERD discussion paper TE/88/170: London School of Economics.Google Scholar
  5. K. Binmore 1988b “Social Contract I: Harsanyi and Rawls.” CREST discussion paper 89-03: University of Michigan. An abbreviated version (1989) appears under the same title in:Economic Journal 99: 84-102.Google Scholar
  6. K. Binmore (1988c) “Social Contract II: Gauthier and Nash.” CREST discussion paper 89-04: University of Michigan.Google Scholar
  7. J. Buchanan (1975)The Limits of Liberty. University of Chicago Press: Chicago.Google Scholar
  8. J. Buchanan (1976) “A Hobbesian Interpretation of the Rawlsian Difference Principle.”Kyklos 29: 5–25.Google Scholar
  9. R. Dawkins (1976)The Selfish Gene. Oxford University Press: Oxford.Google Scholar
  10. R. Dawkins (1986)The Blind Watchmaker. Penguin Books: London.Google Scholar
  11. J. Farrell (1987) “Cheap Talk, Coordination and Entry.”Rand Journal of Economics 18: 61–94.Google Scholar
  12. A. Gibbard (1982) “Human Evolution and the Sense of Justice.” In: P. French, T. Vehling and H. Wetterstein (eds)Midwest Studies in Philosophy 7. University of Minnesota Press: Minneapolis.Google Scholar
  13. J. Gough (1938)The Social Contract. Clarendon Press: Oxford.Google Scholar
  14. J. Harsanyi (1953) “Cardinal Utility in Welfare Economics and in the Theory of Risk-taking.”Journal of Political Economy 61: 434–435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. J. Harsanyi (1955) “Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility.”Journal of Political Economy 63: 309–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. J. Harsanyi (1958) “Ethics in Terms of Hypothetical Imperatives.”Mind 47: 305–316.Google Scholar
  17. J. Harsanyi (1977)Rational Behavior and Bargaining Equilibrium in Games and Social Situations. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.Google Scholar
  18. T. Hobbes [1968 (1651)]Leviathan. Penguin Classics: London. (Edited by C.B. Macpherson)Google Scholar
  19. J. Howard (1988) “Cooperation in the Prisoners' Dilemma.”Theory and Decision: 24.Google Scholar
  20. D. Hume [1969 (1739)]A Treatise of Human Nature. Penguin: Harmondsworth. (Edited by Mossner)Google Scholar
  21. I. Kant [1964 (1785)]Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals. Harper and Row: New York. (Edited by H. Paton)Google Scholar
  22. J. Maynard Smith (1982)Evolution and the Theory of Games. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.Google Scholar
  23. J.S. Mill [1987 (1851)] “Utilitarianism.” In: A. Ryan (ed)Utilitarianism and other Essays. Penguin Books: Harmondsworth.Google Scholar
  24. J. Nash (1950) “The Bargaining Problem.”Econometrica 18: 155–162.Google Scholar
  25. J. Rawls (1958) “Justice as Fairness.”Philosophical Review 57.Google Scholar
  26. J. Rawls (1968) “Distributive Justice, Some Addenda.”Natural Law Forum 13.Google Scholar
  27. J. Rawls (1972)A Theory of Justice. Oxford University Press: Oxford.Google Scholar
  28. J. M. Smith (1982)Evolution and the Theory of Games. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.Google Scholar
  29. L. Samuelson (1988) “Evolutionary Stability in Asymmetric Games.” Discussion paper: State University of Pennsylvania.Google Scholar
  30. R. Selten (1975) “Re-examination of the Perfectness Concept for Equilibrium in Extensive Form Games.”International Journal of Game Theory 4: 22–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. R. Selten (1988) “A Note on Evolutionarily Stable Strategies in Asymmetric Animal Conflicts.”Journal of Theoretical Biology 84: 93–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. R. Sugden (1986)The Economics of Rights, Cooperation and Welfare. Basil Blackwell: Oxford.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© George Mason University 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ken Binmore
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of MichiganAnn Arbor

Personalised recommendations