Theorizing About Conflict
The category of conflict encompasses not only war but also crime, litigation, strikes and lockouts, and redistributive politics. Exchange theory and conflict theory constitute two coequal branches of economic analysis, the first based upon contract and mutual gain, the second upon contest for asymmetric advantage. A number of the analytic options for modelling conflict are reviewed. Preferences, opportunities, and perceptions are shown to determine the choice between conflict and settlement. The technology of conflict as an economic activity is surveyed. Two illustrative models are presented, the first involving actual fighting and the other armed peace.
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