Cooperation and the common enemy effect
AbstractThis paper presents a game-theoretic rationale for the beneficial effect of a common enemy on cooperation. In a defence game against a common natural threat, the value of the public good of defence is equal to the sum of the players' defensive efforts. The game therefore takes the form of a prisoner's dilemma, leading to free-riding. When the same defence game is played against a common enemy, the value of the public good of defence is equal to the smallest defensive effort. The game now takes the form of a stag hunt, so that a cooperative equilibrium becomes possible. For this reason, an informed and benevolent government may not want to inform the public that it is facing a common natural threat rather than a common enemy. At the same time, the common enemy has an incentive to mimic nature, and perform only random rather than targeted attacks.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Utrecht School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 12-24.
Length: 17 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2012
Date of revision:
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances
- H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
- C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-12-22 (All new papers)
- NEP-EXP-2012-12-22 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-GTH-2012-12-22 (Game Theory)
- NEP-HPE-2012-12-22 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
- NEP-MIC-2012-12-22 (Microeconomics)
- NEP-SOC-2012-12-22 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
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