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All-pay war

  • Roland Hodler
  • Hadi Yektas

We study a model of war in which the outcome is uncertain not because of luck on the battlefield (as in standard models), but because the involved countries lack information about their opponent. In our model their production and military technologies are common knowledge, but their resources are private information. Each country decides how to allocate its resources to production and warfare. The country with the stronger military wins and receives aggregate production. In equilibrium the country with a comparative advantage in warfare allocates all resources to warfare for low resource levels and follows a non-decreasing concave strategy thereafter. The opponent allocates a constant fraction of its resources to warfare for low resource levels and follows an increasing non-linear strategy thereafter. From an ex ante perspective the country with a comparative advantage in warfare is likely to win the war unless its military technology is much weaker than the opponent’s.

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Paper provided by The University of Melbourne in its series Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number 1098.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:1098
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, The University of Melbourne, 4th Floor, FBE Building, Level 4, 111 Barry Street. Victoria, 3010, Australia
Phone: +61 3 8344 5355
Fax: +61 3 8344 6899
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