IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Krieg, Frieden und Mediation - eine wettkampftheoretische Perspektive
[War, Peace and Mediation - a Contest Theory Perspective]


  • Gehrmann, Björn


Since the Refugee Crisis and the subsequent focus on combating the causes of migration, efforts to promote the peaceful resolution of armed conflicts have gained in importance and urgency, both in Germany and at the international level. Since 2016, the German Federal Government has significantly increased its commitment to the prevention, stabilization and termination of civil wars. Based on the economic theory of contests, this paper outlines options for how third parties can support peaceful resolution of armed conflicts. In contest theory, peace is interpreted as a stationary equilibrium of military capabilities of the warring parties. The transition from war to peace is either (1) a result of the individual rationality of the parties (endogenous peace) and, depending on the military configuration, can take place with or without the involvement of a mediator (passive mediation), or (2) the result of a targeted intervention of a third party in the calculus of (at least) one of the conflict parties (exogenous peace; active mediation). A contest theory analysis provides new insights into the value of third parties in the transition from war to peace. According to the analysis, (3) passive mediation can be used in 25% of all conceivable military configurations. (4) The 'mutually hurting stalemate' proposed in the mediation literature as a prerequisite for peace negotiations is an absolute exception (2.7%). (5) Passive mediation is much more likely in situations of 'one-sided weakness' (11.1%). To be effective (6) a passive mediator must dispose of immaterial resources such as impartiality, discretion and credibility. (7) Active mediation can be used in the remaining 75% of all conceivable military configurations. (8) To be effective, an active peace broker must have significant material resources (finances, military capabilities, private information). For potential active mediators with limited resources, cooperation with powerful fourth parties could be an attractive option.

Suggested Citation

  • Gehrmann, Björn, 2019. "Krieg, Frieden und Mediation - eine wettkampftheoretische Perspektive
    [War, Peace and Mediation - a Contest Theory Perspective]
    ," MPRA Paper 93645, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:93645

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: original version
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jack Hirshleifer, 2000. "The Macrotechnology of Conflict," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 44(6), pages 773-792, December.
    2. Konrad, Kai A., 2009. "Strategy and Dynamics in Contests," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199549603.
    3. Jia, Hao & Skaperdas, Stergios & Vaidya, Samarth, 2013. "Contest functions: Theoretical foundations and issues in estimation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 211-222.
    4. Pınar Akpınar, 2016. "The limits of mediation in the Arab Spring: the case of Syria," Third World Quarterly, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(12), pages 2288-2303, December.
    5. Kim, Jin Yeub, 2017. "Interim third-party selection in bargaining," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 645-665.
    6. Robert Powell, 2004. "Bargaining and Learning While Fighting," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 48(2), pages 344-361, April.
    7. Philippe Aghion & Alberto Alesina & Francesco Trebbi, 2004. "Endogenous Political Institutions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(2), pages 565-611.
    8. Dominic Rohner, 2018. "Success Factors for Peace Treaties: A Review of Theory and Evidence," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'économie 18.08, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, Département d’économie.
    9. Kydd,Andrew H., 2015. "International Relations Theory," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107027350, December.
    10. Mark Fey & Kristopher W. Ramsay, 2011. "Uncertainty and Incentives in Crisis Bargaining: Game‐Free Analysis of International Conflict," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 55(1), pages 149-169, January.
    11. Robert Powell, 2012. "Persistent Fighting and Shifting Power," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 56(3), pages 620-637, July.
    12. Erik O. Kimbrough & Kevin Laughren & Roman M. Sheremeta, 2017. "War and Conflict in Economics: Theories, Applications, and Recent Trends," Working Papers 17-13, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    13. Jack Hirshleifer, 1999. "The bioeconomic causes of war," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(7-8), pages 457-466.
    14. Emmanuel Dechenaux & Dan Kovenock & Roman Sheremeta, 2015. "A survey of experimental research on contests, all-pay auctions and tournaments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 18(4), pages 609-669, December.
    15. Powell, Robert, 2006. "War as a Commitment Problem," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 169-203, January.
    16. Matthew O. Jackson & Massimo Morelli, 2007. "Political Bias and War," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1353-1373, September.
      • Jackson, Matthew O. & Morelli, Massimo, "undated". "Political bias and war," Working Papers 1247, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
    17. Jack Hirshleifer, 1989. "Conflict and rent-seeking success functions: Ratio vs. difference models of relative success," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 63(2), pages 101-112, November.
    18. Foster Joshua, 2018. "Wars of Attrition with Endogenously Determined Budget Constraints," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 18(2), pages 1-10, July.
    19. Walter, Barbara F., 1997. "The Critical Barrier to Civil War Settlement," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(3), pages 335-364, July.
    20. Kydd,Andrew H., 2015. "International Relations Theory," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107694231, December.
    21. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson, 2011. "The Logic of Political Violence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1411-1445.
    22. Goltsman, Maria & Hörner, Johannes & Pavlov, Gregory & Squintani, Francesco, 2009. "Mediation, arbitration and negotiation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(4), pages 1397-1420, July.
    23. Powell, Robert, 2017. "Taking Sides in Wars of Attrition," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 219-236, May.
    24. Debraj Ray & Joan Esteban, 2017. "Conflict and Development," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 9(1), pages 263-293, September.
    25. Johannes Hörner & Nicolas Sahuguet, 2011. "A war of attrition with endogenous effort levels," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 47(1), pages 1-27, May.
    26. Kyle C. Beardsley & David M. Quinn & Bidisha Biswas & Jonathan Wilkenfeld, 2006. "Mediation Style and Crisis Outcomes," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 50(1), pages 58-86, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Krieg; Frieden; Mediation; Wettkampftheorie; Drittpartei; Viertpartei; Kampf; Verhandlung; endogener Frieden; exogener Frieden;

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • F51 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Conflicts; Negotiations; Sanctions
    • F54 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - Colonialism; Imperialism; Postcolonialism


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:93645. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Joachim Winter). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.