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Peace and War in Territorial Disputes

  • Herschel I. Grossman

Why do sovereign states sometimes fail to settle territorial disputes peacefully? Also, why do even peaceful settlements of territorial disputes rarely call for the resulting border to be unfortified? This paper explores a class of answers to these questions that is based on the following premise: States can settle a territorial dispute peacefully only if (1) their payoffs from a peaceful settlement are larger than their expected payoffs from a default to war, and (2) their promises not to attack are credible. This premise directs the analysis to such factors as the advantage of attacking over both defending and counterattacking, the divisibility of the contested territory, the possibility of recurring war, the depreciation or obsolescence of fortifications, and inequality in the effectiveness of mobilized resources.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w10601.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10601.

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Date of creation: Jul 2004
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10601
Note: EFG
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  1. Hess, Gregory D & Orphanides, Athanasios, 1995. "War Politics: An Economic, Rational-Voter Framework," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 828-46, September.
  2. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore, 1995. "On the Number and Size of Nations," NBER Working Papers 5050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Garfinkel, Michelle R, 1990. "Arming as a Strategic Investment in a Cooperative Equilibrium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 50-68, March.
  4. Spolaore, Enrico & Alesina, Alberto, 2005. "War, Peace, and the Size of Countries," Scholarly Articles 4553002, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Fearon, James D., 1995. "Rationalist explanations for war," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(03), pages 379-414, June.
  6. Garfinkel, M.R., 1992. ""Domestic Politics and International Conflict"," Papers 90-92-30, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
  7. Gregory D. Hess & Athanasios Orphanides, 2001. "War and Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(4), pages 776-810, August.
  8. Dimitriy Gershenson & Herschel I. Grossman, 1999. "Civil Conflict: Ended Or Never Ending?," Working Papers 99-31, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  9. Garfinkel, M.R. & Skaperdas, S., 2000. "Conflict without Misperceptions or Incomplete Information: how the Future Matters," Papers 99-00-11, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
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