Bargaining for Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa: A Game-Theoretic Analysis

  • J Duffy
  • D Ross


As regimes move from illiberal to liberal, post-transition justice methodology has been employed to engender truth and reconciliation. These normative concepts have evolved into a policy of creating truth and reconciliation commissions that trade civil and criminal amnesty with applicants in ex change for information. This bargained-for exchange can be analyzed as an imperfect information game, where the commission attempts to maximize information (truth) while the applicant seeks amnesty for the lowest possible price. Using game-theoreticanalysis, the authors model the truth-amnesty game and predict the optimal commission strategy. The analysis leads to the recommendation that future transitional justice commissions employ various specific lexicographic ordering strategies to mimimize dead weight loss in the transaction.

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eISSN: 0258-0136