Alexis Louaas Speaks on Hobbes, Kant, and Game Theory

Alexis Louaas, Postdoctoral Fellow at the European Institute for Innovation and Technology at Imperial College London, will give a research talk on the topic, “From Hobbes to Kant – A Repeated Game Approach of Contractarianism.”

The talk will take place on February 17, 2021, from 4-5:30pm via Zoom ( Please log into Zoom with your Virginia Tech email address. The talk is tailored to appeal to both faculty and students, with plenty of time for discussion and interaction with the guest speaker.

Here is the abstract of the talk: Building on the contractarian tradition, I propose a two-step bargaining theory of justice. Individuals first bargain about the distribution of property rights over total wealth. They subsequently play an indefinitely repeated prisoner’s dilemma in which they either comply with the property right system previously decided, or they fight to increase their share. Mutual defection leads to a “war of all against all” while mutual cooperation generates a peaceful and efficient outcome. I show in this framework that mutual cooperation can be an equilibrium only if inequality is sufficiently low. In such a case, an individual with a high bargaining power restricts his claim over total wealth in order to preserve cooperation. This strategic behavior is observationally equivalent to a purely altruistic behavior. The model hence offers a possible rationalization of individual’s demands for equality and justice.

About 110 faculty members and students attended the talk. Here is a Zoom snapshot.


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