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Conflict and the Social Contract

  • Bester, Helmut
  • Wärneryd, Karl

We consider social contracts for resolving conflicts between two agents who are uncertain about each other's fighting potential. Applications include international conflict, litigation, and elections. Even though only a peaceful agreement avoids a loss of resources, if this loss is small enough, then any contract must assign a positive probability of conflict. We show how the likelihood of conflict outbreak depends on the distribution of power between the agents and their information about each other.

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Paper provided by Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich in its series Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems with number 94.

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Date of creation: Feb 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:94
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  1. Skaperdas, S. & Syropoulos, C., 1996. "Insecure Properties and the Stability of Exchange," Papers 95-96-8, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
  2. Moldovanu, Benny & Fieseler, Karsten & Kittsteiner, Thomas, 1999. "Partnerships, Lemons and Efficient Trade," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 01-18, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  3. Ausubel, Lawrence M. & Deneckere, Raymond J., 1989. "A direct mechanism characterization of sequential bargaining with one-sided incomplete information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 18-46, June.
  4. Farrell, Joseph, 1987. "Information and the Coase Theorem," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 113-29, Fall.
  5. Mailath, George J & Postlewaite, Andrew, 1990. "Asymmetric Information Bargaining Problems with Many Agents," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(3), pages 351-67, July.
  6. Balinga, Sandeep & Sjostrom, Tomas, 2001. "Arms Races and Negotiations," Working Papers 3-01-2, Pennsylvania State University, Department of Economics.
  7. Klibanoff, Peter & Morduch, Jonathan, 1995. "Decentralization, Externalities, and Efficiency," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(2), pages 223-47, April.
  8. Ledyard, John O & Palfrey, Thomas R, 1994. "Voting and Lottery Drafts as Efficient Public Goods Mechanisms," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(2), pages 327-55, April.
  9. Grossman, Sanford J. & Hart, Oliver D., 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Scholarly Articles 3450060, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 1999. "Conflict and Distribution," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 379-415, August.
  11. Grossman, Herschel I & Kim, Minseong, 1995. "Swords or Plowshares? A Theory of the Security of Claims to Property," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1275-88, December.
  12. Kathryn E. Spier, 1994. "Pretrial Bargaining and the Design of Fee-Shifting Rules," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(2), pages 197-214, Summer.
  13. Myerson, Roger B. & Satterthwaite, Mark A., 1983. "Efficient mechanisms for bilateral trading," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 265-281, April.
  14. repec:fth:inseep:9629 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Skaperdas, S., 1991. "Cooperation, Conflict And Power In The Absence Of Property Rights," Papers 90-91-06a, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
  16. Myerson, Roger B, 1979. "Incentive Compatibility and the Bargaining Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 61-73, January.
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