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Anarchy and Its Breakdown

  • Jack Hirshleifer

    (UCLA)

Anarchy, defined as a system in which participants can seize and defend resources without regulation from above, is not chaos but rather a spontaneous order. However, anarchy is fragile and may dissolve either into formless 'amorphy' or into a more organized system such as hierarchy. Under anarchy, each contestant balances between productive exploitation of the current resource base and fighting to acquire or defend resources. Anarchy is sustainable only when there are strongly diminishing returns to fighting effort (the decisiveness parameter is sufficiently low) and incomes exceed the viability minimum. These considerations explain many features of animal and human conflict. Copyright 1995 by University of Chicago Press.

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Paper provided by UCLA Department of Economics in its series UCLA Economics Working Papers with number 674.

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Date of creation: 01 Sep 1992
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Handle: RePEc:cla:uclawp:674
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.ucla.edu/

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  1. Jack Hirshleifer, 1990. "The Technology of Conflict as an Economic Activity," UCLA Economics Working Papers 597, UCLA Department of Economics.
  2. Dan Usher, 1986. "The Dynastic Cycle and the Stationary State," Working Papers 671, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
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  5. Jack Hirshleifer, 1978. "Natural Economy Versus Political Economy," UCLA Economics Working Papers 114, UCLA Department of Economics.
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  10. Gal-Or, Esther, 1985. "First Mover and Second Mover Advantages," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 26(3), pages 649-53, October.
  11. Bush, Winston C. & Mayer, Lawrence S., 1974. "Some implications of anarchy for the distribution of property," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 401-412, August.
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  13. Ghiselin, Michael T, 1978. "The Economy of the Body," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 233-37, May.
  14. Batchelder, Ronald W. & Freudenberger, Herman, 1983. "On the rational origins of the modern centralized state," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 1-13, January.
  15. Grossman, Herschel I, 1991. "A General Equilibrium Model of Insurrections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 912-21, September.
  16. Garfinkel, Michelle R, 1990. "Arming as a Strategic Investment in a Cooperative Equilibrium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 50-68, March.
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