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Arms Races and Negotiations

  • Sandeep Baliga
  • Tomas Sjöström

Two players simultaneously decide whether or not to acquire new weapons in an arms race game. Each player's type determines his propensity to arm. Types are private information, and are independently drawn from a continuous distribution. With probability close to one, the best outcome for each player is for neither to acquire new weapons (although each prefers to acquire new weapons if he thinks the opponent will). There is a small probability that a player is a dominant strategy type who always prefers to acquire new weapons. We find conditions under which the unique Bayesian-Nash equilibrium involves an arms race with probability one. However, if the probability that a player is a dominant strategy type is sufficiently small, then there is an equilibrium of the cheap-talk extension of the game where the probability of an arms race is close to zero. Copyright 2004, Wiley-Blackwell.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/0034-6527.00287
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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Review of Economic Studies.

Volume (Year): 71 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 351-369

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Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:71:y:2004:i:2:p:351-369
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  1. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2000. "Global Games: Theory and Applications," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1275R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Aug 2001.
  2. Baliga, Sandeep & Morris, Stephen, 2002. "Co-ordination, Spillovers, and Cheap Talk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 105(2), pages 450-468, August.
  3. Matthews, Steven A. & Postlewaite, Andrew, 1989. "Pre-play communication in two-person sealed-bid double auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 238-263, June.
  4. Morris, Stephen & Shin, Hyun Song, 1997. "Unique Equilibrium in a Model of Self-fulfilling Currency Attacks," CEPR Discussion Papers 1687, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Carlsson, H. & Van Damme, E., 1990. "Global Games And Equilibrium Selection," Papers 9052, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
  6. Fudenberg, Drew & Tirole, Jean, 1991. "Perfect Bayesian equilibrium and sequential equilibrium," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 236-260, April.
  7. Banks, Jeffrey S. & Calvert, Randall L., 1992. "A battle-of-the-sexes game with incomplete information," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 347-372, July.
  8. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1989. "The Electronic Mail Game: Strategic Behavior under "Almost Common Knowledge."," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 385-91, June.
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