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Minimal conditions for parametric continuity and stable policy in extreme settings

O'Callaghan, Patrick (2016): Minimal conditions for parametric continuity and stable policy in extreme settings.

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Abstract

In civil conflicts, warring factions commit atrocities for arbitrarily small gains in territory. On the product of territory-atrocity pairs, such (revealed) preferences are lexicographic. In such settings, the external policy maker faces a nonmetrizable parameter space. Taking the policy maker’s preferences as primitive, we provide tools for evaluating and approximating policy in such settings. In particular, we provide necessary and sufficient conditions for a utility representation and a pseudometric, both of which are continuous on a parameter space with the minimal topological structure. We then bring our results to bear upon the Syrian conflict and propose a policy that is stable relative to a sufficiently moderate (ε-lexicographic) warring faction.

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