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Governance as a strategy in state-of-nature games

Abstract

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.

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Correspondence to Jason Briggeman.

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Briggeman, J. Governance as a strategy in state-of-nature games. Public Choice 141, 481 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11127-009-9465-4

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Keywords

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

JEL Classification

  • C72
  • D7
  • H1
  • H41