Munich Personal RePEc Archive

How democracy resolves conflict in difficult games

Brams, Steven J. and Kilgour, D. Marc (2008): How democracy resolves conflict in difficult games.

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Abstract

Democracy resolves conflicts in difficult games like Prisoners’ Dilemma and Chicken by stabilizing their cooperative outcomes. It does so by transforming these games into games in which voters are presented with a choice between a cooperative outcome and a Pareto-inferior noncooperative outcome. In the transformed game, it is always rational for voters to vote for the cooperative outcome, because cooperation is a weakly dominant strategy independent of the decision rule and the number of voters who choose it. Such games are illustrated by 2-person and n-person public-goods games, in which it is optimal to be a free rider, and a biblical story from the book of Exodus.

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