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More than Words: Communication in Intergroup Conflicts

Author

Listed:
  • Andreas Leibbrandt

    (University of Chicago, Department of Economics)

  • Lauri Sääksvuori

    () (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena)

Abstract

Numerous studies suggest that communication may be a universal means to mitigate collective action problems. In this study, we challenge this view and show that the communication structure crucially determines whether communication mitigates or intensifies the problem of collective action. We observe the effect of different communication structures on collective action in the context of finitely repeated intergroup conflict and demonstrate that conflict expenditures are significantly higher if communication is restricted to one's own group as compared to a situation with no communication. However, expenditures are significantly lower if open communication within one's own group and between rivaling groups is allowed. We show that under open communication intergroup conflicts are avoided by groups taking turns in winning the contest. Our results do not only qualify the role of communication for collective action but may also provide insights on how to mitigate the destructive nature of intergroup conflicts.

Suggested Citation

  • Andreas Leibbrandt & Lauri Sääksvuori, 2010. "More than Words: Communication in Intergroup Conflicts," Jena Economic Research Papers 2010-065, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2010-065
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    File URL: http://pubdb.wiwi.uni-jena.de/pdf/wp_2010_065.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bochet, Olivier & Page, Talbot & Putterman, Louis, 2006. "Communication and punishment in voluntary contribution experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 11-26, May.
    2. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 2008. "Men, Women and Risk Aversion: Experimental Evidence," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gil S Epstein & Yosef Mealem, 2012. "Cooperation and Effort in Group Contests," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 32(1), pages 624-638.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Communication; Conflict; Experiment; Rent-seeking;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • 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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