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Strategic extremism

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  • Elie Appelbaum

    ()
    (Department of Economics, York University)

Abstract

This paper studies the strategic role of extremism within a two-country multi-stage game and shows that, in general, an equilibrium exists in which extremism is used by both rivals. We show that often changes in the environment affect the two countries differently. Specifically, as a country becomes wealthier, more powerful, or more democratic, its level of extremism decreases, but at the same time, its rival’s level of extremism increases. Similarly, higher stakes in the conflict tend to increase the level of extremism in the relatively poorer, weaker, and less democratic country, but decrease the level of extremism in the other country. On the other hand, higher stakes in a conflict between similar countries and greater destructiveness vis-à-vis the contested asset will increase the levels of extremism in both countries. Since changes in the environment may affect the levels of extremism in the two countries in opposite ways, we calculate the probability of an extremist destructive episode as a possible measure of the “aggregate” level of extremism in the conflict. We find that the aggregate level of extremism decreases with wealth, power, and degree of democracy, but increases with the stakes in the conflict and with better access to destructive technology. Finally, we use the model to examine levels of extremism within the context of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by York University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2006_12.

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Length: 13 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:yca:wpaper:2006_12

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Related research

Keywords: Extremism; Root causes; Credible threats; Bargaining; Power; Democracy; Wealth;

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References

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  1. Svejnar, J., 1984. "Bargaining power, fear of disagreement and wage settlements: theory and evidence from U.S. industry," CORE Discussion Papers 1984037, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  2. Wintrobe,Ronald, 2006. "Rational Extremism," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521859646, October.
  3. Edward L. Glaeser & Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2004. "Strategic Extremism: Why Republicans and Democrats Divide on Religious Values," NBER Working Papers 10835, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. Laussel, Didier, 2002. "Delegation effects in representative democracies: do they foster extremism?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 191-205, August.
  13. Glazer, Amihai & Gradstein, Mark & Konrad, Kai A, 1998. "The Electoral Politics of Extreme Policies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(451), pages 1677-85, November.
  14. Asoka Bandarage, 2004. "Beyond Globalization and Ethno-religious Fundamentalism," Development, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 47(1), pages 35-41, March.
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  16. Lapan, Harvey E. & Sandler, Todd, 1993. "Terrorism and signalling," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 383-397, August.
  17. S. Brock Blomberg & Gregory D. Hess & Akila Weerapana, 2004. "An Economic Model of Terrorism," Conflict Management and Peace Science, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 21(1), pages 17-28, February.
  18. Sandler, Todd & Enders, Walter, 2004. "An economic perspective on transnational terrorism," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 301-316, June.
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