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Peace and War in Territorial Disputes

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Why do sovereign states sometimes fail to settle territorial disputes peacefully? Also, why do even peaceful settlements of territorial disputes rarely call for the resulting border to be unfortified? This paper explores a class of answers to these questions that is based on the following premise: States can settle a territorial dispute peacefully only if (1) their payoffs from a peaceful settlement are larger than their expected payoffs from a default to war, and (2) their promises not to attack are credible. This premise directs the analysis to such factors as the advantage of attacking over both defending and counterattacking, the divisibility of the contested territory, the possibility of recurring war, the depreciation or obsolescence of fortifications, and inequality in the effectiveness of mobilized resources.

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Paper provided by Brown University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2004-07.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:bro:econwp:2004-07

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Postal: Department of Economics, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912

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  1. Alesina, Alberto & Spolaore, Enrico, 1997. "On the Number and Size of Nations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1027-56, November.
  2. Gregory D. Hess & Athanasios Orphanides, 1999. "War and Democracy," CESifo Working Paper Series 201, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Fearon, James D., 1995. "Rationalist explanations for war," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(03), pages 379-414, June.
  4. Hess, Gregory D & Orphanides, Athanasios, 1995. "War Politics: An Economic, Rational-Voter Framework," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 828-46, September.
  5. Spolaore, Enrico & Alesina, Alberto, 2005. "War, Peace, and the Size of Countries," Scholarly Articles 4553002, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  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. Dimitriy Gershenson & Herschel I. Grossman, 1999. "Civil Conflict: Ended Or Never Ending?," Working Papers 99-31, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  8. Garfinkel, Michelle R, 1990. "Arming as a Strategic Investment in a Cooperative Equilibrium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 50-68, March.
  9. Garfinkel, Michelle R, 1994. "Domestic Politics and International Conflict," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1294-1309, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Chang, Yang-Ming & Potter, Joel & Sanders, Shane, 2007. "War and peace: Third-party intervention in conflict," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 954-974, December.
  2. Leonardo Raffo López, 2007. "El modelo de Skaperdas y Syropoulos," Revista de Economía Institucional, Universidad Externado de Colombia - Facultad de Economía, vol. 9(17), pages 153-181, July-Dece.
  3. Kolmar, Martin, 2005. "The contribution of Herschel I. Grossman to political economy," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 802-814, December.
  4. Herschel I. Grossman, 2003. "Choosing Between Peace and War," NBER Working Papers 10180, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Yang-Ming Chang, 2009. "Strategic altruistic transfers and rent seeking within the family," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 22(4), pages 1081-1098, October.

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