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Why Can’t We Be Friends? Entitlements, bargaining, and conflict


  • Erik O. Kimbrough

    () (Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University, Canada)

  • Roman M. Sheremeta

    (Argyros School of Business and Economics, Chapman University, USA)


We design an experiment to explore the impact of earned entitlements on the frequency and intensity of conflicts in a two-stage bargaining and conflict game with side-payments. In this game, residents (Proposers) make side-payment offers and contestants (Responders) decide whether to accept the offers and whether to engage in a conflict. When subjects earn their roles, conflicts are 44% more likely to be avoided than when roles are assigned randomly. Earned rights impact behavior in three important ways: (1) residents who have earned their position persistently offer larger side-payments; (2) larger offers lead to a lower probability of conflict, but (3) residents whose offers do not lead to conflict resolution respond spitefully and exhibit greater conflict expenditure. Hence, with earned rights, the positive welfare effects of reduced conflict frequency are offset by higher conflict intensity.

Suggested Citation

  • Erik O. Kimbrough & Roman M. Sheremeta, 2012. "Why Can’t We Be Friends? Entitlements, bargaining, and conflict," Working Papers 12-16, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:chu:wpaper:12-16

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kimbrough, Erik O. & Rubin, Jared & Sheremeta, Roman M. & Shields, Timothy W., 2015. "Commitment problems in conflict resolution," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 33-45.
    2. Roman M. Sheremeta, 2013. "Overbidding And Heterogeneous Behavior In Contest Experiments," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(3), pages 491-514, July.
    3. Kimbrough, Erik O. & Sheremeta, Roman M. & Shields, Timothy W., 2014. "When parity promotes peace: Resolving conflict between asymmetric agents," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 96-108.

    More about this item


    contests; conflict resolution; side-payments; entitlements; experiments;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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