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Brothers in Arms - An Experiment on the Alliance Puzzle

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  • Changxia Ke
  • Kai A. Konrad
  • Florian Morath

Abstract

Our experimental analysis of alliances in conflicts leads to three main findings. First, even in the absence of repeated interaction, direct contact or communication, free-riding among alliance members is far less pronounced than what would be expected from non-cooperative theory. Second, this possible solidarity among ‘brothers in arms’ when fighting against an outside enemy may rapidly deteriorate or disappear as soon as the outside enemy disappears. Third, when fighting an outside enemy, ‘brothers in arms’ may already anticipate future internal conflict about dividing the spoils of winning; however, this subsequent internal conflict does not discourage alliance members from expending much effort in the contest against the external enemy.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3302.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3302

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Keywords: alliance; conflict; contest; free-riding; hold-up problem; solidarity;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Sheremeta, Roman, 2013. "Overbidding and Heterogeneous Behavior in Contest Experiments," MPRA Paper 44124, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Lacomba, Juan A. & Lagos, Francisco & Reuben, Ernesto & van Winden, Frans, 2014. "On the escalation and de-escalation of conflict," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 40-57.
  3. Ke, Changxia & Konrad, Kai A. & Morath, Florian, 2013. "Alliances in the Shadow of Conflict," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 420, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  4. Beekman, Gonne & Cheung, Stephen L. & Levely, Ian, 2014. "The Effect of Conflict History on Cooperation Within and Between Groups: Evidence from a Laboratory Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 8287, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Herbst, Luisa & Konrad, Kai A. & Morath, Florian, 2013. "Endogenous group formation in experimental contests," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 419, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.

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