Published online by Cambridge University Press: 27 December 2018
How is legal order possible? Why do people comply with law when it prevents them from doing what they think best? Two important books show how these questions can—and from some methodological perspectives must—be answered in the form of game-theoretic accounts that show how legal compliance can be compatible with the broad self-interest of officials and citizens. Unfortunately, however, these books also serve to demonstrate that game-theoretic accounts along these lines lack the resources to explain how real-world legal systems emerge and evolve or the various institutional shapes these systems take. The fundamental limitation of game theory, in this context and more generally, is its inability to predict or explain the size and shape of cooperative equilibria.