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Conflict, Popular Support and Asymmetric Fighting Technologies


  • Tomas Gonzalez

    (Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics, Birkbeck)


This paper presents a model of conflict that combines popular support and asymmetric fighting technologies in a civil war setting. Starting with different endowments, two parties must decide on the amount of resources to divert from production to fighting. The conditions for conflict to arise are derived and civil war is shown to be subject to efficiency and distributive costs. Two other equilibria can occur, the first involving only one side choosing to arm, and the other a peace equilibrium where both groups choose zero fighting effort. The model is consistent with various historical accounts of the different roads to war and with recent empirical evidence on the determinants of conflict. Although the model focuses on civil wars, it can easily be extended to other situations that involve conflict such as rent seeking, political campaigning or litigation.

Suggested Citation

  • Tomas Gonzalez, 2006. "Conflict, Popular Support and Asymmetric Fighting Technologies," Birkbeck Working Papers in Economics and Finance 0603, Birkbeck, Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bbk:bbkefp:0603

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    JEL classification:

    • 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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