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Rational Defence: War and Peace in South Asia

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  • Richard Barrett
  • Somnath Sen
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    Abstract

    The paper provides a theory of war and conflict issues, and applies the theory to the arms race and the possibility of war in the South Asian subcontinent. We try to give a new perspective on an old question: wars are not rational since they destroy the contestable resource over which disputes arise; yet, states which are rational frequently undertake them rather than going for the less costly option of settlement. In the paper a war game is played in which two states first build armaments and then, if they cannot achieve a settlement, fight a war, the outcome of which depends on strength of armaments, where at stake is a contestable resource. The anticipated outcome determines the bargaining threat point. ‘Technology’ is a factor in any war, and so too is the cost of building armaments. States typically differ in technology and may also miscalculate their own relative technical position and war-fighting capability. Alternative models of settlement and war are presented in which states either believe the opposing state has the same perception of technical advantage, or else know the opposing state’s differing perception. Dynamic models, which include the effects of decay in information over time and strategic concerns, are examined. Finally, the results of the models are applied to the stylised facts of India-Pakistan rivalry and conflict, paying particular attention to institutional issues. It is demonstrated that the stylised facts of the Indo-Pakistani conflict and wars fit well with the theoretical conjectures of the analytical models.

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    File URL: ftp://ftp.bham.ac.uk/pub/RePEc/pdf/09-11.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Birmingham in its series Discussion Papers with number 09-11.

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    Length: 18 pages
    Date of creation: Sep 2009
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:bir:birmec:09-11

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    Postal: Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT
    Web page: http://www.economics.bham.ac.uk
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    Related research

    Keywords: National security; economics of war; arms race; international conflicts; strategic behaviour; political economy; South Asia;

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    References

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    1. Michelle R. Garfinkel & Stergios Skaperdas, 2006. "Economics of Conflict: An Overview," Working Papers 050623, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics, revised Sep 2006.
    2. Nash, John, 1950. "The Bargaining Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 18(2), pages 155-162, April.
    3. Garfinkel, Michelle R, 1994. "Domestic Politics and International Conflict," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1294-1309, December.
    4. Anbarci, N. & Skaperdas, S. & Syropoulos, C., 2000. "Comparing Bargaining Solutions in the Shadow of Conflict: How Norms Against Threats Can Have Real Effects," Papers 00-01-19, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
    5. Brito, Dagobert L. & Intriligator, Michael D., 1995. "Arms races and proliferation," Handbook of Defense Economics, in: Keith Hartley & Todd Sandler (ed.), Handbook of Defense Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 109-164 Elsevier.
    6. Michelle R Garfinkel & Stergios Skaperdas, 2001. "Conflict Without Misperceptions or Incomplete Information: How the Future Matters," Levine's Working Paper Archive 563824000000000011, David K. Levine.
    7. Deger, Saadet & Sen, Somnath, 1995. "Military expenditure and developing countries," Handbook of Defense Economics, in: Keith Hartley & Todd Sandler (ed.), Handbook of Defense Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 11, pages 275-307 Elsevier.
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