IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Cycles of Distrust: An Economic Model

  • Daron Acemoglu
  • Alexander Wolitzky

We propose a model of cycles of distrust and conflict. Overlapping generations of agents from two groups sequentially play coordination games under incomplete information about whether the other side consists of "extremists" who will never take the good/trusting action. Good actions may be mistakenly perceived as bad/distrusting actions. We also assume that there is limited information about the history of past actions, so that an agent is unable to ascertain exactly when and how a sequence of bad actions originated. Assuming that both sides are not extremists, spirals of distrust and conflict get started as a result of a misperception, and continue because the other side interprets the bad action as evidence that it is facing extremists. However, such spirals contain the seeds of their own dissolution: after a while, Bayesian agents correctly conclude that the probability of a spiral having started by mistake is sufficiently high, and bad actions are no longer interpreted as evidence of extremism. At this point, one party experiments with a good action, and the cycle restarts. We show how this mechanism can be useful in interpreting cycles of ethnic conflict and international war, and how it also emerges in models of political participation, dynamic inter-group trade, and communication - leading to cycles of political polarization, breakdown of trade, and breakdown of communication.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.dklevine.com/archive/refs4786969000000000502.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by David K. Levine in its series Levine's Working Paper Archive with number 786969000000000502.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 11 Sep 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cla:levarc:786969000000000502
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.dklevine.com/

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Edward L. Glaeser, 2005. "The Political Economy of Hatred," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(1), pages 45-86.
  2. Sandeep Baliga & Tomas Sjöström, 2004. "Arms Races and Negotiations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(2), pages 351-369.
  3. Alesina, Alberto, 1988. "Credibility and Policy Convergence in a Two-Party System with Rational Voters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 796-805, September.
  4. Kartik, Navin & Ottaviani, Marco & Squintani, Francesco, 2007. "Credulity, lies, and costly talk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 134(1), pages 93-116, May.
  5. Georgy Egorov & Konstantin Sonin, 2013. "A Political Theory of Populism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(2), pages 771-805.
  6. Edward J Green & Robert H Porter, 1997. "Noncooperative Collusion Under Imperfect Price Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1147, David K. Levine.
  7. Stefano DellaVigna & Ruben Enikolopov & Vera Mironova & Maria Petrova & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2011. "Cross-border media and nationalism: Evidence from Serbian radio in Croatia," NBER Working Papers 16989, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Sylvain Chassang & Gerard Padro i Miquel, 2008. "Conflict and Deterrence under Strategic Risk," NBER Working Papers 13964, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Battaglini, Marco & Coate, Stephen, 2007. "A Dynamic Theory of Public Spending, Taxation and Debt," Working Papers 07-04, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  10. Rohner, D. & Thoenig, M. & Zilibotti, F., 2011. "War Signals: A Theory of Trade, Trust and Conflict," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1136, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  11. Chen, Ying, 2011. "Perturbed communication games with honest senders and naive receivers," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(2), pages 401-424, March.
  12. Bhaskar, V., 1994. "Informational Constraints and the Overlapping Generations Model: Folk and Anti-Folk Theorems," Papers 9485, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
  13. Qingmin Liu, 2011. "Information Acquisition and Reputation Dynamics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(4), pages 1400-1425.
  14. Laura Bottazzi & Marco Da Rin & Thomas F. Hellmann, 2011. "The Importance of Trust for Investment: Evidence from Venture Capital," NBER Working Papers 16923, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Mehmet Ekmekci & Olivier Gossner & Andrea Wilson, 2012. "Impermanent types and permanent reputations," PSE - Labex "OSE-Ouvrir la Science Economique" halshs-00754608, HAL.
  16. Mailath,G.J. & Samuelson,L., 1998. "Who wants a good reputation?," Working papers 19, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  17. Benabou, R. & Laroque, G., 1989. "Using Privileged Information To Manipulate Markets: Insiders, Gurus, And Credibility," Working papers 513, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  18. Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1993. "Design Innovation and Fashion Cycles," Discussion Papers 1049, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  19. Wiseman, Thomas, 2008. "Reputation and impermanent types," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 190-210, January.
  20. Abreu, Dilip & Pearce, David & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1986. "Optimal cartel equilibria with imperfect monitoring," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 251-269, June.
  21. Phelan, Christopher, 2006. "Public trust and government betrayal," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 130(1), pages 27-43, September.
  22. Bernhardt, Dan & Krasa, Stefan & Polborn, Mattias, 2008. "Political polarization and the electoral effects of media bias," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1092-1104, June.
  23. Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 2004. "The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1034-1054, September.
  24. Monte, Daniel, 2013. "Bounded memory and permanent reputations," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(5), pages 345-354.
  25. Nolan McCarty & Keith T. Poole & Howard Rosenthal, 2008. "Polarized America: The Dance of Ideology and Unequal Riches," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262633612, March.
  26. Yared, Pierre, 2010. "A dynamic theory of war and peace," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(5), pages 1921-1950, September.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cla:levarc:786969000000000502. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (David K. Levine)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.