Utilitas

Research Article

The (Stabilized) Nash Bargaining Solution as a Principle of Distributive Justice

MICHAEL MOEHLERa1

a1 Virginia Tech moehler@vt.edu

Abstract

It is argued that the Nash bargaining solution cannot serve as a principle of distributive justice because (i) it cannot secure stable cooperation in repeated interactions and (ii) it cannot capture our moral intuitions concerning distributive questions. In this article, I propose a solution to the first problem by amending the Nash bargaining solution so that it can maintain stable cooperation among rational bargainers. I call the resulting principle the stabilized Nash bargaining solution. The principle defends justice in the form ‘each according to her basic needs and above this level according to her relative bargaining power’. In response to the second problem, I argue that the stabilized Nash bargaining solution can serve as a principle of distributive justice in certain situations where moral reasoning is reduced to instrumental reasoning. In particular, I argue that rational individuals would choose the stabilized Nash bargaining solution in Rawls’ original position.