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Unequal power and the dynamics of rivalry

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Abstract

By incorporating positional dynamics into a conflict model relevant to battlefields and politics, we show that the conditions that induce regime stability can also induce hard conflicts. We show that in contests with incumbent-challenger turnover, i) asymmetric power across groups and positions may magnify conflicts; ii) more severe conflicts can occur with lower turnover of incumbents; iii) power can be self-defeating, as cost advantages can reduce payoffs; and iv) double inequality across positions and groups can maximize the graveness of conflicts and the social waste of resources. The propositions in our paper are contrary to the standard implications of static conict models.

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  • Mehlum, Halvor & Moene, Kalle, 2016. "Unequal power and the dynamics of rivalry," Memorandum 13/2016, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:osloec:2016_013
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    File URL: http://www.sv.uio.no/econ/english/research/unpublished-works/working-papers/pdf-files/2016/memo-13-2016.pdf
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    1. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2008. "Persistence of Power, Elites, and Institutions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 267-293, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Clark, Derek J. & Nilssen, Tore, 2018. "Keep on fighting: The dynamics of head starts in all-pay auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 258-272.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Contests; political stability; incumbency advantage; conflict and civil war;

    JEL classification:

    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions

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