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Kantians, selfish and "nice" agents: some implications for normative public policy


  • Paulo Trigo Pereira
  • José Pedro Pontes


Public choice theory postulate that agents in a non-market setting are instrumentally rational and selfish. However, this approach creates some problems related to the raison d'etre of the normative public choice research programme. This paper considers interaction in two different environments, of instrumental rational agents and moral agents behaving according to kantian practical reason. The first environment, is a step-level contribution to a pure public good in repeated single-shot prisoners' dilemma (PD) games where agents learn the total contribution after each round. The second is infinitely repeated PID games, where agents are randomly selected from the same group of individuals. An evolutionary analysis shows that kantians, although not playing the games, may have an important influence on the evolutionary stability of the tit-for-tat Nash equilibrium.

Suggested Citation

  • Paulo Trigo Pereira & José Pedro Pontes, 1999. "Kantians, selfish and "nice" agents: some implications for normative public policy," Working Papers Department of Economics 1999/02, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, Universidade de Lisboa.
  • Handle: RePEc:ise:isegwp:wp21999

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Voluntary donations; ethics; public goods; reciprocity;

    JEL classification:

    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games


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