Emergence of the Social Contract

Sigmund, K. (2012). Emergence of the Social Contract. In: Worlds Within Reach: From Science To Policy - IIASA 40th Anniversary Conference, 24-26 October 2012, Hofburg Congress Center, Vienna and IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria.

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Free riders can exploit and therefore subvert joint enterprises. Empirical and theoretical research on mutual aid games indicates that the threat of punishment can curb free-riding. Since punishment is often costly, this rises an issue of second-order free-riding: indeed, the sanctioning system is itself a public good which can be exploited. Using evolutionary game theory, one can show that coercion, both by peers and by institutions, can emerge more easily if the joint enterprise is voluntary, rather than compulsory. This sheds some light on Rousseau's opening sentence of his Social Contract: 'Man is born free, and everywhere men are in chains.'

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Other)
Uncontrolled Keywords: IIASA 40th Anniversary Conference
Research Programs: Evolution and Ecology (EEP)
Depositing User: Michaela Rossini
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2016 12:55
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:26
URI: https://pure.iiasa.ac.at/12195

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