Unraveling into War: Trust and Social Preferences in Hobbes's State of Nature
Published : January, 2021
According to Hobbes, individuals care about their relative standing in a way that shapes their social interactions. To model this aspect of Hobbesian psychology, this paper supposes that agents have social preferences, that is, preferences about their comparative resource holdings. Introducing uncertainty regarding the social preferences of others unleashes a process of trust-unraveling, ultimately leading to Hobbes's "state of war." This Trust-unraveling Model incorporates important features of Hobbes's argument that past models ignore.
Hobbes; Social Contract; Contractarianism; Game Theory