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Recirpcity in the shadow of Threat

  • Caruso, Raul

This paper considers a partial equilibrium model of conflict where two asymmetric, rational and risk-neutral opponents evaluate differently a contested stake. Differently from common contest models, agents have the option of choosing a second instrument to affect the outcome of the conflict. The second instrument is assumed to capture positive investments in ‘conflict management’ - labelled as ‘talks’. It will be demonstrated that the asymmetry in the evaluation of the stake does constitute a powerful force influencing agents’ behaviour. In particular, (a) whenever the asymmetry in the evaluation of the stake is extremely large there is no room for cooperation and a conflict trap emerges; (b) whenever the degree of asymmetry falls within a critical interval cooperation seems to emerge even if only the agent with the higher evaluation of the stake makes a concession, proportional to the optimal choice of ‘talks’; (c) as the evaluations of the stake converge only reciprocal concessions (capturing a kind of strong reciprocity) made by both agents can pave the way for cooperation. In such a case, the existence of reciprocal concessions paves the way for establishing a potential settlement region (PSR) given that both parties can be better off while expending resources in ‘talks’. Finally, throughout the paper, the concept of entropy is applied as a tool for the measurement and evaluation of conflict and conflict management.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 1788.

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Date of creation: Feb 2007
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:1788
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  1. Stergios Skaperdas, 1996. "Contest success functions (*)," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 283-290.
  2. Ernst Fehr & Simon G�chter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 159-181, Summer.
  3. 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.
  4. Caruso, Raul, 2006. "Conflict and Conflict Management with Interdependent Instruments and Asymmetric Stakes,(The Good-Cop and the Bad-Cop Game)," MPRA Paper 214, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Sep 2006.
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  13. Raul Caruso, 2005. "Asimmetrie negli incentivi, equilibrio competititvo e impegno agonistico: distorsioni in presenza di doping e combine," Rivista di Diritto ed Economia dello Sport, Centro di diritto e business dello Sport, vol. 1(3), pages 13-38, Dicembre.
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  20. Skaperdas, S., 1991. "Cooperation, Conflict And Power In The Absence Of Property Rights," Papers 90-91-06a, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
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