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Engaging in Wars of Attrition


  • Maxime Menuet
  • Petros G. Sekeris


This article studies the incentives to engage in a war of attrition under both, complete and incomplete information. In our setup, a war of attrition can unilaterally be decided by any player, and if neither player engages in a war of attrition they each obtain some pre-determined payoff. Under complete information, we demonstrate that if players play pure-strategies, they engage in a war of attrition where one player will drop out immediately. In a mixed strategy subgame perfect equilibrium, no player engages in a war of attrition. Under incomplete information, players never engage in a war of attrition at the symmetric perfect Bayesian equilibrium. When allowing players to decide to initiate a confrontation we therefore demonstrate that there can never be a war of attrition with a strictly positive drop out time along the equilibrium path.

Suggested Citation

  • Maxime Menuet & Petros G. Sekeris, 2022. "Engaging in Wars of Attrition," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 147, pages 79-100.
  • Handle: RePEc:adr:anecst:y:2022:i:147:p:79-100

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    War of Attrition; Conflict Initiation; Non-cooperative Game;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design


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