David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy and Public Affairs 34 (4):313–351 (2006)
There is an idea, extremely common among social contract theorists, that the primary function of social institutions is to secure some form of cooperative benefit. If individuals simply seek to satisfy their own preferences in a narrowly instrumental fashion, they will find themselves embroiled in collective action problems – interactions with an outcome that is worse for everyone involved than some other possible outcome. Thus they have reason to accept some form of constraint over their conduct, in order to achieve this superior, but out-of-equilibrium outcome. A social institution can be defined as a set of norms that codify these constraints.1 Simplifying somewhat, one can then say that social institutions exist in order to secure gains in Pareto-efficiency.
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References found in this work BETA
Joseph Heath (2004). Dworkin’s Auction. Politics, Philosophy and Economics 3 (3):313-335.
R. G. Lipsey & Kelvin Lancaster (1956). The General Theory of Second Best. Review of Economic Studies 24 (1):11-32.
Citations of this work BETA
Xavier Landes (2015). How Fair Is Actuarial Fairness? Journal of Business Ethics 128 (3):519-533.
Neil Hibbert (2007). Is Workfare Egalitarian? Politics and Ethics Review 3 (2):200-216.
Joseph Heath (2013). Ideal Theory in an Nth-Best World: The Case of Pauper Labor. Journal of Global Ethics 9 (2):159 - 172.
Dominic Martin (2016). There Is No Bathing in River Styx: Rule Manipulation, Performance Downplaying and Adversarial Schemes. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (1):129-145.
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