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A sheriff, two bullets and three problems

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  • Mike Felgenhauer

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Abstract

This paper analyzes deterrence in international conflicts. Assume a strong country has several opponents and faces a military capacity constraint, which is not exhausted after just one war. Two main effects are at work. If the strong country is constrained, then reputation is more expensive and may occur less often. The problem is that the opponents may (but need not) be more aggressive compared to a world without a constraint. It may be that an “axis of evil” does not exist before a war occurs, but is implicitly formed even by moderate countries after the first war was waged. A point of interest is whether the constrained strong country should obtain additional capacity, given that the objective is to minimize the number of wars. The analysis sheds some new light on the U.S. foreign policy, the United Nations and the “axis of evil” Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Suggested Citation

  • Mike Felgenhauer, 2007. "A sheriff, two bullets and three problems," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 130(3), pages 347-362, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:130:y:2007:i:3:p:347-362
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-006-9091-3
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11127-006-9091-3
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kreps, David M & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Sequential Equilibria," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 863-894, July.
    2. Garfinkel, Michelle R, 1994. "Domestic Politics and International Conflict," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1294-1309, December.
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    5. Hirshleifer, Jack, 1991. "The Technology of Conflict as an Economic Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 130-134, May.
    6. Kreps, David M. & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Reputation and imperfect information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 253-279, August.
    7. Garfinkel, Michelle R, 1990. "Arming as a Strategic Investment in a Cooperative Equilibrium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 50-68, March.
    8. Darren Filson & Suzanne Werner, "undated". "A Bargaining Model of War and Peace: Anticipating the Onset, Duration, and Outcome of War," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2001-02, Claremont Colleges.
    9. Hess, Gregory D & Orphanides, Athanasios, 1995. "War Politics: An Economic, Rational-Voter Framework," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 828-846, September.
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    11. repec:cup:apsrev:v:95:y:2001:i:04:p:845-858_40 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. repec:cup:apsrev:v:58:y:1964:i:01:p:23-35_08 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Keywords

    War; Auction; Reputation; Deterrence; Capacity constraint;

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