Employee participation is a vital ingredient of what the International Labour Organization (ILO) calls ‘representation security’. This article provides theoretical and empirical insights relating to social policy impact of worker participation, specifically the European Information and Consultation Directive (ICD) for employee voice rights. While existing research on the ICD offers important empirical insights, there is a need for further theoretical analysis to examine the potential effectiveness of the regulations in liberal market economies (LMEs). Drawing on data from 16 case studies, the article uses game theory and the prisoner's dilemma framework to explain why national implementing legislation is largely ineffective in diffusing mutual gains cooperation in two LMEs: UK and the Republic of Ireland. Three theoretical (metaphorical) propositions advance understanding of the policy impact of national information & consultation regulations in LMEs.