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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. Ke, Changxia & Konrad, Kai A. & Morath, Florian, 2012. "Alliances in the shadow of conflict," Discussion Papers, Research Professorship & Project "The Future of Fiscal Federalism" SP II 2012-104, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  2. 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.
  3. Roman M. Sheremeta, 2013. "Overbidding and Heterogeneous Behavior in Contest Experiments," Working Papers 13-06, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  4. Herbst, Luisa & Konrad, Kai A. & Morath, Florian, 2013. "Endogenous group formation in experimental contests," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change SP II 2013-301, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  5. Lacomba, Juan A. & Lagos, Francisco & Reuben, Ernesto & van Winden, Frans, 2013. "On the Escalation and De-Escalation of Conflict," IZA Discussion Papers 7492, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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