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The effect of within-group inequality in a conflict against a unitary threat


  • Cubel Maria

    () (University of Barcelona, Dept of Public Economics, and IEB)

  • Sanchez-Pages Santiago

    () (University of Barcelona, Dept of Economic Theory, and University of Edinburgh, School of Economics)


A group of agents must defend their individual income from an external threat by pooling their efforts against it. The winner of this confrontation is determined by a contest success function where members’ efforts display a varying degree of complementarity. Individual effort is costly and its cost follows a convex isoelastic function. We investigate how the success of the group in the conflict and its members’ utilities vary with the degree of within-group inequality. We show that there is a natural relationship between the group’s probability of victory and the Atkinson index of inequality. If members’ efforts are complementary or the cost function convex enough, more egalitarianism within the group increases the likelihood of victory against the external threat. The opposite holds when members’ efforts are substitutes and the cost linear enough.

Suggested Citation

  • Cubel Maria & Sanchez-Pages Santiago, 2012. "The effect of within-group inequality in a conflict against a unitary threat," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 18(3), pages 1-11, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:pepspp:v:18:y:2012:i:3:p:1-11:n:14

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bassetti, Thomas & Caruso, Raul & Cortes, Darwin, 2015. "Behavioral Differences in Violence: The Case of Intra-Group Differences of Paramilitaries and Guerrillas in Colombia," MPRA Paper 64943, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Caruso, Raul & Carlo, Bellavite Pellegrini & Marco, Di Domizio, 2016. "Does diversity in the payroll affect soccer teams’ performance? Evidence from the Italian Serie A," MPRA Paper 75644, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions


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