Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
New interface
Journal articles

Sado-Masochism in Buchanan's Samaritan's Dilemma. A Constitutional Perspective

Abstract : In this paper, we study the impact of altruism on an interaction between a samaritan and a recipient/parasite in the frame of Buchanan's samaritan's dilemma (1975). We show that, as soon as altruism reaches a certain threshold, the equilibrium of the game corresponds to the situation Buchanan called a samaritan's dilemma. We also show that the Nash equilibrium reached for these levels of altruism is a Pareto-efficient outcome. Thus, the situation Buchanan characterized as a samaritan's dilemma is not a dilemma at all. Both players are satisfied with the situation as it is and need each other, up to the point of giving birth to a sado-masochistic equilibrium. We also show that this result holds if and only if the constitutional rules are given-either the ethical rules followed by the individuals, or the form of the game. This equilibrium could be avoided if the players adopted a constitutional perspective on the situation.
Document type :
Journal articles
Complete list of metadata
Contributor : Alain Marciano Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Wednesday, June 1, 2022 - 7:53:18 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, October 12, 2022 - 3:58:53 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, September 2, 2022 - 6:07:58 PM


Samaritan-dilemma-may 2022.pdf
Files produced by the author(s)




Alain Marciano. Sado-Masochism in Buchanan's Samaritan's Dilemma. A Constitutional Perspective. Homo Oeconomicus: Journal of Behavioral and Institutional Economics, In press, ⟨10.1007/s41412-022-00126-7⟩. ⟨hal-03683854⟩



Record views


Files downloads