Munich Personal RePEc Archive

The Social Benefit of War

Hoffmann, Magnus (2007): The Social Benefit of War.

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Abstract

Recent findings in economic theory show that cooperation (settlement) between two identical players with conflicting interests in a valuable and contestable resource always Pareto dominates violent dispute (war), given that cooperation is presented using a symmetric bargaining norm. Necessary conditions for settlement to arise are the destructibility of war, and the costless and exogenous enforcement of any agreement made by the two players. We show that endogenous enforcement of the agreements alters the incentives of the players to bargain. This causes a shift in the Pareto frontier so that - under certain conditions - war Pareto dominates settlement.

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