Acting in concert or going it alone: Game theory and the law

Law and Philosophy 23 (6):615 - 630 (2004)
In recent years a number of writers have maintained that law can usefully be illuminated by game theory. Some believe that game theory can provide guidance in formulating rules for dealing with specific problems. Others advance the philosophically ambitious contention that we can gain a better understanding and/or appreciation of law by seeing it in terms of game-theoretic ideas. My purpose in this article is to examine some claims of the latter sort, and in particular to ask how distant law can be from the assumptions of game theory and still be informed by it. Models are not expected to fit precisely what they model, but at some point the deviation is too great and there is a failure to illuminate.
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