Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2014

Abstract

Due to the high costs of conflict both in theory and practice, we examine and experimentally test the conditions under which conflict between asymmetric agents can be resolved. We model conflict as a two-agent rent-seeking contest for an indivisible prize. Before conflict arises, both agents may agree to allocate the prize by fair coin flip to avoid the costs of conflict. The model predicts that “parity promotes peace”: in the pure-strategy equilibrium, agents with relatively symmetric conflict capabilities agree to resolve the conflict by using a random device; however, with sufficiently asymmetric capabilities, conflicts are unavoidable because the stronger agent prefers to fight. The results of the experiment confirm that the availability of the random device partially eliminates conflicts when agents are relatively symmetric; however, the device also reduces conflict between substantially asymmetric agents.

Comments

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, volume 99, in 2014. DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2013.12.021

The Creative Commons license below applies only to this version of the article.

Peer Reviewed

1

Copyright

Elsevier

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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