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Brothers in arms: An experiment on the alliance puzzle

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  • Ke, Changxia
  • Konrad, Kai A.
  • Morath, Florian

Abstract

Our experimental analysis of alliances in conflicts leads to three main findings. First, even in the absence of repeated interaction, direct contact or communication, free-riding among alliance members is far less pronounced than what would be expected from non-cooperative theory. Second, this possible solidarity among brothers in arms when fighting against an outside enemy may rapidly deteriorate or disappear as soon as the outside enemy disappears. Third, when fighting an outside enemy, brothers in arms may already anticipate future internal conflict about dividing the spoils of winning; however, this subsequent internal conflict does not discourage alliance members from expending much effort in the contest against the external enemy.

Suggested Citation

  • Ke, Changxia & Konrad, Kai A. & Morath, Florian, 2010. "Brothers in arms: An experiment on the alliance puzzle," Discussion Papers, Research Professorship & Project "The Future of Fiscal Federalism" SP II 2010-18, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbfff:spii201018
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    Cited by:

    1. Herbst, Luisa & Konrad, Kai A. & Morath, Florian, 2013. "Endogenous group formation in experimental contests," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 419, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    2. Michael D. König & Dominic Rohner & Mathias Thoenig & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2016. "The Long-lasting Shadow of the Allied Occupation of Austria on its Spatial Equilibrium," HiCN Working Papers 231, Households in Conflict Network.
    3. Subhasish M. Chowdhury & Anwesha Mukherjee & Theodore L. Turocy, 2016. "That's the ticket: Explicit lottery randomisation and learning in Tullock contests," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 16-07, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
    4. Roman M. Sheremeta, 2013. "Overbidding And Heterogeneous Behavior In Contest Experiments," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(3), pages 491-514, July.
    5. 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.
    6. Changxia Ke & Kai A. Konrad & Florian Morath, 2015. "Alliances In The Shadow Of Conflict," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 53(2), pages 854-871, April.
    7. Bayer, Ralph-Christopher, 2016. "Cooperation and distributive conflict," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 88-109.
    8. 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.
    9. repec:eee:pubeco:v:152:y:2017:i:c:p:143-153 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. repec:cai:repdal:redp_273_0307 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Beekman, Gonne & Cheung, Stephen L. & Levely, Ian, 2017. "The effect of conflict history on cooperation within and between groups: Evidence from a laboratory experiment," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 168-183.
    12. repec:bla:jecsur:v:32:y:2018:i:3:p:683-704 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Roman M. Sheremeta, 2018. "Behavior In Group Contests: A Review Of Experimental Research," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(3), pages 683-704, July.
    14. Herbst, Luisa & Konrad, Kai A. & Morath, Florian, 2015. "Endogenous group formation in experimental contests," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 163-189.
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    16. Roman Sheremeta, 2018. "Experimental Research on Contests," Working Papers 18-07, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    17. Changxia Ke, 2011. "Fight Alone or Together? The Need to Belong," Working Papers fight_alone_or_together, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance.
    18. Lacomba, Juan A. & Lagos, Francisco & Reuben, Ernesto & van Winden, Frans, 2014. "On the escalation and de-escalation of conflict," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 40-57.
    19. Sheremeta, Roman, 2018. "Experimental Research on Contests," MPRA Paper 89327, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    20. Herrera, Helios & Reuben, Ernesto & Ting, Michael M., 2017. "Turf wars," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 152(C), pages 143-153.
    21. Deck, Cary & Foster, Joshua & Song, Hongwei, 2015. "Defense against an opportunistic challenger: Theory and experiments," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 242(2), pages 501-513.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Alliance; conflict; contest; free-riding; hold-up problem; solidarity;

    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

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