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Signaling in the shadow of conflict


  • Wolton, Stephane


Informational asymmetries have long been recognized as one of the causes of wasteful conflicts. Signaling has been found to be an effective tool for interested parties to truthfully communicate private information. Can signaling help reduce the risk of conflict? I study this question in a model in which a Sender sends a signal about his privately known cost of conflict, a Receiver makes an offer, and the Sender decides whether or not to start a conflict. I find that when the outcomes of a conflict do not depend on previous actions such as wars where the winner gains the disputed territory, signaling does not permit any information transmission. In turn, when the outcomes of a conflict depends on the Receiver's offer, signaling can help avoid war, but only under specific conditions. In all cases, the shadow of conflict looms large and renders signaling totally or relatively ineffective in preventing conflict.

Suggested Citation

  • Wolton, Stephane, 2018. "Signaling in the shadow of conflict," MPRA Paper 83922, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:83922

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Johannes Hörner & Massimo Morelli & Francesco Squintani, 2015. "Mediation and Peace," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(4), pages 1483-1501.
    2. Sandeep Baliga & Tomas Sjöström, 2004. "Arms Races and Negotiations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(2), pages 351-369.
    3. Mailath, George J, 1987. "Incentive Compatibility in Signaling Games with a Continuum of Types," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(6), pages 1349-1365, November.
    4. repec:wly:emetrp:v:85:y:2017:i::p:419-452 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Sandeep Baliga & Tomas Sjostrom, 2013. "Bargaining and War: A Review of Some Formal Models," Korean Economic Review, Korean Economic Association, vol. 29, pages 235-266.
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    More about this item


    war; plea bargain; lobbying; conflict; signaling; information;

    JEL classification:

    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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