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Ethics, Economics, and PoliticsPrinciples of Public Policy$
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I. M. D. Little

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199257041

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2004

DOI: 10.1093/0199257043.001.0001

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Games, Conventions, and Public Goods

Games, Conventions, and Public Goods

(p.89) 9 Games, Conventions, and Public Goods
Ethics, Economics, and Politics

Ian Malcolm David Little

Oxford University Press

Game theory analyses the best behaviour of individuals when this depends on the reaction of others. The prisoners’ dilemma is the best‐known theorem, and has been thought to be an important reason for government intervention in markets. This is misleading because trust and conventions play a large part in oft‐repeated economic and other transactions. The nature and provision of public goods is analysed. In practice, the state typically supplies many goods, which could, in principle, be efficiently supplied by private enterprise.

Keywords:   conventions, game theory, prisoners’ dilemma, private enterprise, public goods, repeated games, trust

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