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Reciprocity in the Shadow of Threat
International Review of Economics (2008)
  • Raul Caruso

This paper considers a partial equilibrium model of conflict where two agents differently evaluate a contested stake. Differently from common contest models, agents have the option of choosing a second instrument to affect the outcome of the conflict. The second instrument is assumed to capture positive investments in ‘conflict management’—labeled as ‘talks’. The focus is on the asymmetry in the evaluation of the stake: whenever the asymmetry in the evaluation of the stake is large there is no room for cooperation and a conflict trap emerges; whenever the degree of asymmetry falls within a critical interval, cooperation seems to emerge only in the presence of a unilateral concession; as the evaluations of the stake converge, only reciprocal concessions can sustain cooperation. Finally the concept of entropy is applied to measure conflict and conflict management.

  • Conflict - Contest - Conflict management - Concessions - Reciprocity - Asymmetry in evaluation - Statistical entropy - Cooperation - Integrative systems - ‘Guns’ and ‘talks’
Publication Date
December, 2008
Citation Information
Raul Caruso. "Reciprocity in the Shadow of Threat" International Review of Economics Vol. 55 Iss. 1/2 (2008)
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