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Anarchy, Groups, and Conflict: An Experiment on the Emergence of Protective Associations

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Author Info

  • Adam C. Smith

    ()
    (Department of Economics, George Mason University)

  • David B. Skarbek

    ()
    (Department of Economics, George Mason University)

  • Bart J. Wilson

    ()
    (Economic Science Institute, Chapman University)

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate the implications of the philosophical considerations presented in Nozick’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia, by examining group formation in a laboratory setting where subjects engage in both cooperative and conflictual interactions. We endow participants with a commodity used to generate earnings, plunder others, or protect against plunder. In our primary treatment, we allow participants to form groups to pool their resources. We conduct a baseline comparison treatment that does not allow group formation. We find that allowing subjects to organize themselves into groups does not lead to more cooperation and may in fact exacerbate tendencies for conflict.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Chapman University, Economic Science Institute in its series Working Papers with number 09-03.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:chu:wpaper:09-03

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Keywords: Nozickian protective associations; Conflict; Anarchy; Experimental economics;

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References

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  1. Erik Kimbrough & Vernon Smith & Bart Wilson, 2006. "Historical Property Rights, Sociality, and the Emergence of Impersonal Exchange in Long-distance Trade," Working Papers, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science 1003, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science, revised Oct 2006.
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  27. repec:kap:expeco:v:5:y:2002:i:2:p:91-110 is not listed on IDEAS
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Rogers, Douglas B. & Smith, Adam C. & Wilson, Bart J., 2013. "Violence, access, and competition in the market for protection," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 1-17.
  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. David M. Bruner & John R. Boyce, 2013. "Voluntary Contributions to Property Rights," Working Papers, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University 13-14, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.

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