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All-pay war

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  • Roland Hodler
  • Hadi Yektas

Abstract

We study a model of war in which the outcome is uncertain not because of luck on the battlefield (as in standard models), but because the involved countries lack information about their opponent. In our model their production and military technologies are common knowledge, but their resources are private information. Each country decides how to allocate its resources to production and warfare. The country with the stronger military wins and receives aggregate production. In equilibrium the country with a comparative advantage in warfare allocates all resources to warfare for low resource levels and follows a non-decreasing concave strategy thereafter. The opponent allocates a constant fraction of its resources to warfare for low resource levels and follows an increasing non-linear strategy thereafter. From an ex ante perspective the country with a comparative advantage in warfare is likely to win the war unless its military technology is much weaker than the opponent’s.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The University of Melbourne in its series Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number 1098.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:1098

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Keywords: Conflict; war; all-pay auction; private information;

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References

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  1. Garfinkel, Michelle R, 1990. "Arming as a Strategic Investment in a Cooperative Equilibrium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 50-68, March.
  2. Alexander Matros, 2007. "A Blotto Game with Incomplete Information," Working Papers 332, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2009.
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  13. Andrei Shleifer & Daniel Treisman, 2005. "A Normal Country: Russia After Communism," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 151-174, Winter.
  14. Meirowitz, Adam & Sartori, Anne E., 2008. "Strategic Uncertainty as a Cause of War," International Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 3(4), pages 327-352, December.
  15. Mark Fey, 2008. "Rent-seeking contests with incomplete information," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 135(3), pages 225-236, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Roland Hodler & Hadi Yektas, 2013. "Wars of Conquest and Independence," CESifo Working Paper Series 4282, CESifo Group Munich.

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