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Toward a theory of spontaneous law


  • Francesco Parisi


Legal scholars have long recognized the significance of strategic behavior when considering how legal rules affect, individuals. In the principal applications of game theory to the law, legal rules have been analyzed as corrective devices for game inefficiencies. Law promotes what individuals cannot spontaneously achieve or helps them avoid the traps of strategic social interaction. The logic of this argument, however, needs to be reversed if one wishes to use game theory to explain the spontaneous emergence of law. The challenge is to apply the sophisticated tools of game theory to an appraisal of spontaneous sources of law and to consider the incentive structure of the originating environment as well as the possible role of strategic behavior in affecting the equilibrium outcome. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Suggested Citation

  • Francesco Parisi, 1995. "Toward a theory of spontaneous law," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 211-231, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:copoec:v:6:y:1995:i:3:p:211-231
    DOI: 10.1007/BF01303403

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kronman, Anthony T, 1985. "Contract Law and the State of Nature," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(1), pages 5-32, Spring.
    2. Levy, David, 1988. "Utility-Enhancing Consumption Constraints," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(01), pages 69-88, April.
    3. Bruce Benson, 1992. "Customary law as a social contract: International commercial law," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 1-27, December.
    4. Richard Wagner, 1992. "Crafting social rules: Common law vs. statute law, once again," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 381-397, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fon, Vincy & Parisi, Francesco, 2008. "Role-reversibility, stochastic ignorance, and social cooperation," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 1061-1075, June.

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