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Social contract I: Harsanyi and Rawls

Binmore, K.G.; (1989) Social contract I: Harsanyi and Rawls. Economic Journal , 99 (395) pp. 84-102.

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This paper analyzes the bargaining problem faced by two individuals in the Rawlsian original position along strictly Rawlsian lines. The resulting model closely resembles that used by J. Harsanyi in defending utilitarianism. Three difficulties with Harsanyi's version of the model are identified. These concern the underlying symmetry assumption, the origin of the necessary interpersonal comparison of utility, and the reasons why individuals should be regarded as committed to the "social contract" negotiated in the original position. The paper seeks to resolve the first two difficulties by supposing that the "extended sympathy preferences" required in Harsanyi's model are chosen strategically by evolutionary forces.

Type: Article
Title: Social contract I: Harsanyi and Rawls
Publisher version: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2234072
Language: English
Additional information: This issue is currently available via JSTOR subscription
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Dept of Economics
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/15605
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