The Tragedy of the Commons in a Violent World
Earlier research has shown that the tragedy of the commons may be resolved by Folk theorems for dynamic games. In this article we graft on a standard natural-resource exploitation game the possibility to appropriate the resource through violent means. Because conflict emerges endogenously as resources get depleted, the threat supporting the cooperative outcome is no longer subgame perfect, and thus credible. The unique equilibrium is such that players exploit non-cooperatively the resource when it is abundant and they revert to conflict when it becomes scarce. The players' utility is shown to be lower even if conflict wastes no resources.
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