Experiment-inspired comments on John Roemer’s theory of cooperation

Authors: Antoni Bosch-Domènech and Joaquim Silvestre

Review of Social Economy, Vol. 77, No 1, 69-89, January, 2019

We report on a nonsocial experiment where we find that all participants choose the dominant strategy in the experimental payoff, and compare it with the payoff-isomorphic, but social, Prisoner’s Dilemma treatment presented in a recent paper by Bosch-Domènech and Silvestre where 28% choose cooperation instead of the dominant strategy. The contrast reinforces Roemer’s emphasis on human cooperation. Next, we argue that Roemer’s Simple Kantian Equilibrium works well as a theory of cooperation under the assumption of monotonicity (positive or negative externalities), but not when efficient cooperation requires the division of labor by coordinating dissimilar tasks. © 2019, © 2019 The Association for Social Economics.