The Inevitability and Indeterminacy of Game-Theoretic Accounts of Legal Order

25 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2016

Date Written: October 8, 2015

Abstract

How is legal order possible? Why do people comply with law when it prevents them from doing what they think best? Two important books show how these questions can - and from some methodological perspectives must - be answered in the form of game-theoretic accounts that show how legal compliance can be compatible with the broad self-interest of officials and citizens. Unfortunately, however, these books also serve to demonstrate that game-theoretic accounts along these lines lack the resources to explain how real world legal systems emerge and evolve or the various institutional shapes these systems take. The fundamental limitation of game theory, in this context and more generally, is its inability to predict or explain the size and shape of cooperative equilibria.

Suggested Citation

Levinson, Daryl J., The Inevitability and Indeterminacy of Game-Theoretic Accounts of Legal Order (October 8, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2854902 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2854902

Daryl J. Levinson (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States
212-998-6237 (Phone)

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