The use of conflict as a bargaining tool against unsophisticated opponents
AbstractIn this paper we explore the role of conflict as an informational device by means of a simple bargaining model with one-sided incomplete information: Limited conflicts reveal information about the outcome of the all-out conflict (that ends the game) because the outcomes of both types of confrontations are driven by the relative strength of the parties. We limit the analysis to the case where the uninformed party can learn the information transmitted in the battlefield but not the one conveyed by offers. The game becomes then an optimal stopping problem where the informed party has to decide at each period whether to stop, by reaching an agreement or by invoking total conflict, or to keep fighting. We show that conflict is a double-edge sword: It may paradoxically open the door to agreement when the uniformed party is too optimistic. But confrontation also occurs when agreement is possible but the informed agent has incentives to improve her bargaining position by fighting.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh in its series ESE Discussion Papers with number 99.
Date of creation: Mar 2004
Date of revision:
Relative strength; absolute conflict; battles; unsophisticated opponent; optimal stopping.;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
- D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances
- J52 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Dispute Resolution: Strikes, Arbitration, and Mediation
- N4 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation
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