Brothers in Arms: Cooperation in Defence
AbstractIn experiments, people behave more cooperatively when they are aware of an external threat, while in the field, we observe surprisingly high levels of cooperation and altruism within groups in conflict situations such as civil wars. We provide an explanation for these phenomena. We introduce a model in which different groups vary in their willingness to help each other against external attackers. Attackers infer the cooperativeness of a group from its members' behaviour under attack, and may be deterred by a group which bands together against an initial attack. Then, even self-interested individuals may behave cooperatively when threatened, so as to mimic more cooperative groups. By doing so, they drive away attackers and increase their own future security. We argue that a group's reputation is a public good with a natural weakest-link structure. We test the implications of our model in a laboratory experiment.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics in its series Jena Economic Research Papers with number 2010-064.
Date of creation: 27 Sep 2010
Date of revision:
cooperation; conflict; defence; signaling;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
- C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
- D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-10-09 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBE-2010-10-09 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-EXP-2010-10-09 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-GTH-2010-10-09 (Game Theory)
- NEP-SOC-2010-10-09 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
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- Hendon, Ebbe & Jacobsen, Hans Jorgen & Sloth, Birgitte, 1996. "The One-Shot-Deviation Principle for Sequential Rationality," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 274-282, February.
- Frans van Winden, 2012. "Affective Social Ties - Missink Link in Governance Theory," Rationality, Markets and Morals, Frankfurt School Verlag, Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, vol. 3(57), October.
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