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Anarchy, Groups, and Conflict: An Experiment on the Emergence of Protective Associations

Author

Listed:
  • Adam C. Smith

    () (Department of Economics, George Mason University)

  • David B. Skarbek

    () (Department of Economics, George Mason University)

  • Bart J. Wilson

    () (Economic Science Institute, Chapman University)

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate the implications of the philosophical considerations presented in Nozick’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia, by examining group formation in a laboratory setting where subjects engage in both cooperative and conflictual interactions. We endow participants with a commodity used to generate earnings, plunder others, or protect against plunder. In our primary treatment, we allow participants to form groups to pool their resources. We conduct a baseline comparison treatment that does not allow group formation. We find that allowing subjects to organize themselves into groups does not lead to more cooperation and may in fact exacerbate tendencies for conflict.

Suggested Citation

  • Adam C. Smith & David B. Skarbek & Bart J. Wilson, 2009. "Anarchy, Groups, and Conflict: An Experiment on the Emergence of Protective Associations," Working Papers 09-03, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:chu:wpaper:09-03
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. David Hebert, 2015. "John J. Pitney and John-Clark Levin, Private anti-piracy navies: How warships for hire are changing maritime security," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 28(3), pages 365-369, September.
    2. Andrew Young, 2015. "From Caesar to Tacitus: changes in early Germanic governance circa 50 BC-50 AD," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 164(3), pages 357-378, September.
    3. Herbst, Luisa & Konrad, Kai A. & Morath, Florian, 2015. "Endogenous group formation in experimental contests," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 163-189.
    4. repec:gam:jgames:v:7:y:2015:i:1:p:2:d:61440 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Klarizze Anne Puzon & Marc Willinger, 2015. "Malevolent Governance, Intra-Group Conflict and the Paradox of the Plenty: An Experiment," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(1), pages 1-11, December.
    6. David M. Bruner & John R. Boyce, 2013. "Voluntary Contributions to Property Rights," Working Papers 13-14, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
    7. Erik O. Kimbrough & Kevin Laughren & Roman Sheremeta, 2017. "War and Conflict in Economics: Theories, Applications, and Recent Trends," Discussion Papers dp17-10, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University.
    8. Marco Faillo & Stefania Ottone & Lorenzo Sacconi, 2015. "The social contract in the laboratory. An experimental analysis of self-enforcing impartial agreements," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 163(3), pages 225-246, June.
    9. Rogers, Douglas B. & Smith, Adam C. & Wilson, Bart J., 2013. "Violence, access, and competition in the market for protection," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 1-17.
    10. Carl Mildenberger, 2015. "Virtual world order: the economics and organizations of virtual pirates," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 164(3), pages 401-421, September.
    11. Bart Wilson, 2015. "Further towards a theory of the emergence of property," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 163(1), pages 201-222, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Nozickian protective associations; Conflict; Anarchy; Experimental economics;

    JEL classification:

    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior

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