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Fight Alone or Together? The Need to Belong

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  • Ke, Changxia

Abstract

Alliances often face both free-riding and hold-up problems, which under- mine the effectiveness of alliances in mobilizing joint fighting effort. Despite of these disadvantages, alliances are still ubiquitous in all types of contests. This paper asks if there are non-monetary incentives to form alliances, e.g., intimidating/discouraging the single player(s) who is/are left alone. For this purpose, I compare symmetric (2 vs. 2) and asymmetric (2 vs. 1) contests to their equivalent 4-player and 3-player individual contests, respectively. We find that alliance players in symmetric (2 vs. 2) contests behave the same as those in equivalent 4-player individual contests. However, in asymmetric (2 vs. 1) contests, stand-alone players were strongly discouraged to exert effort (especially the females), compared to the 3-player individual contests. Alliance players may have anticipated this effect and also reduced their effort, if alliances share the prize according to the merit rule. Behavioural factors such as the need to belong can help reconcile the "paradox of alliance formation".

Suggested Citation

  • Ke, Changxia, 2013. "Fight Alone or Together? The Need to Belong," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 421, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:421
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Sheremeta, Roman, 2015. "Behavior in Group Contests: A Review of Experimental Research," MPRA Paper 67515, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Alliance Formation; Contest and Conflict; Experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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