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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 Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance in its series Working Papers with number brothers_in_arms.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mpi:wpaper:brothers_in_arms

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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, 2013. "Alliances in the Shadow of Conflict," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 420, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. Steven Tucker & Charles Noussair & Roman M. Sheremeta, 2013. "Overbidding And Heterogeneous Behavior In Contest Experiments," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(3), pages 491-514, 07.
  5. Beekman, Gonne & Cheung, Stephen L. & Levely, Ian, 2014. "The Effect of Conflict History on Cooperation Within and Between Groups: Evidence from a Laboratory Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 8287, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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