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Fighting against the odds

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  • Halvor Mehlum

    ()

  • Karl Moene

    ()

Abstract

The fight for power is not only over immediate rents, but also over advantageous positions in future power struggles. When incumbency yields an extra fighting edge, current struggles involve high stakes as a victory today may guarantee the victory also tomorrow. Such an incumbency edge may stem from the control of the army, the police and other instruments reserved for the government. The conclusions drawn from static conflict models are turned on their head when the fight is also over the incumbency edge. A sharper incumbency edge increases the implicit prizes of winning. The fighting intensity may therefore rise when the strength of each side becomes more unequal. Unbalanced fights can last long and become particularly severe. This is in contrast to the standard result that equal strengths give the most intense fighting. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin/Heidelberg 2006

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Economics of Governance.

Volume (Year): 7 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (01)
Pages: 75-87

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Handle: RePEc:spr:ecogov:v:7:y:2006:i:1:p:75-87

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Related research

Keywords: Contests; political stability; war; incumbency;

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References

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  1. Kai A. Konrad, 2002. "Investment in the Absence of Property Rights: The Role of Incumbency Advantages," CESifo Working Paper Series 698, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Grossman, Herschel I, 1994. "Production, Appropriation, and Land Reform," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 705-12, June.
  3. Konrad, Kai A. & Kovenock, Dan, 2006. "Multi-battle contests," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 122, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  4. Skaperdas, Stergios & Syropoulos, Constantinos, 1996. "Can the shadow of the future harm cooperation?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 355-372, May.
  5. Garfinkel, M.R. & Skaperdas, S., 2000. "Conflict without Misperceptions or Incomplete Information: how the Future Matters," Papers 99-00-11, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
  6. Clark, Derek J & Riis, Christian, 1998. "Competition over More Than One Prize," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 276-89, March.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Virág, Gábor, 2009. "Efficiency and competition in the long run: The survival of the unfit," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 315-330, September.
  2. Hausken, Kjell & Bier, Vicki M., 2011. "Defending against multiple different attackers," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 211(2), pages 370-384, June.
  3. Münster, Johannes, 2008. "Repeated contests with asymmetric information," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance SP II 2008-08, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  4. Michael McBride & Stergios Skaperdas, 2005. "Explaining Conflict in Low-Income Countries: Incomplete Contracting in the Shadow of the Future," CESifo Working Paper Series 1636, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Matthew J. Baker & Erwin H. Bulte, 2005. "Kings and Vikings: On the Dynamics of Competitive Agglomeration," Departmental Working Papers 11, United States Naval Academy Department of Economics.
  6. Geys, Benny & Vermeir, Jan, 2012. "Party cues in elections under multilevel governance: Theory and evidence from US states," Discussion Papers, Research Professorship & Project "The Future of Fiscal Federalism" SP II 2012-107, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  7. Michael McBride & Stergios Skaperdas, 2009. "Conflict, Settlement, and the Shadow of the Future," Working Papers 080922, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
  8. Geys, Benny & Vermeir, Jan, 2008. "Party cues and yardstick voting," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 470-477, June.
  9. J. Atsu Amegashie, 2005. "Asymmetry And Collusion In Infinitely Repeated Contests," Working Papers 0509, University of Guelph, Department of Economics and Finance.

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