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Conflict and Renewable Resources

  • Rafael Reuveny

    (School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University)

  • John W. Maxwell

    (Department of Business Economics and Public Policy, Indiana University Kelley School of Business)

The economic literature on conflict employs a static game theoretic frame- work developed by Jack Hirshleifer. We extend this literature by explicitly introducing conflict dynamics into the model. Our specific application is based on two stylized facts. First, conflict often arises over scarce renew- able resources, and second those resources often lack well-defined and/or enforceable property rights. Our stylized model features two rival groups, each dependent on a single contested renewable resource. Each period, the groups allocate their members between resource harvesting and resource appropriation (or conflict) in order to maximize their income. This leads to a complex non-linear dynamic interaction between conflict, the two populations, and the resource. The system's steady states are identified and comparative statics are computed. As developed, the model relates most closely to conflict over renewable resources in primitive societies. The system's global dynamics are investigated in simulations calibrated for the historical society of Easter Island. The model's implications for contemporary lesser developed societies are examined.

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Paper provided by Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy in its series Working Papers with number 2004-26.

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Publication status: Published in Journal of Conflict Resolution
Handle: RePEc:iuk:wpaper:2004-26
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  1. Dan Usher, 1986. "The Dynastic Cycle and the Stationary State," Working Papers 671, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  2. Skaperdas, Stergios, 1996. "Contest Success Functions," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 283-90, February.
  3. Anderton, Charles H & Anderton, Roxane A & Carter, John R, 1999. "Economic Activity in the Shadow of Conflict," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 37(1), pages 166-79, January.
  4. Alexis Jacquemin, 1987. "The New Industrial Organization: Market Forces and Strategic Behavior," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262600145, June.
  5. Grossman, Herschel I & Kim, Minseong, 1995. "Swords or Plowshares? A Theory of the Security of Claims to Property," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1275-88, December.
  6. James A. Brander & M. Scott Taylor, 1995. "International Trade and Open Access Renewable Resources: The Small Open Economy Case," NBER Working Papers 5021, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Alexandra Milik & Alexia Prskawetz, 1996. "Slow-fast dynamics in a model of population and resource growth," Mathematical Population Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(2), pages 155-169.
  8. Michelle R Garfinkel & Stergios Skaperdas, 2001. "Conflict Without Misperceptions or Incomplete Information: How the Future Matters," Levine's Working Paper Archive 563824000000000011, David K. Levine.
  9. Hausken, Kjell, 2000. "Cooperation and between-group competition," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 417-425, July.
  10. Brander, James A & Taylor, M Scott, 1998. "The Simple Economics of Easter Island: A Ricardo-Malthus Model of Renewable Resource Use," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 119-38, March.
  11. Hirshleifer, Jack, 1995. "Anarchy and Its Breakdown," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(1), pages 26-52, February.
  12. Skaperdas, Stergios & Syropoulos, Constantinos, 1996. "Can the shadow of the future harm cooperation?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 355-372, May.
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