Essays on Conflict
Monnier, Danielle Louisa
These two essays use game theoretic models to examine factors contributing to conflicts within and between countries. The first chapter models alliance formation and investment in conflict in a society which can be divided into either class or ethnic groups. Analysis of the model shows that countries always mobilize and invest in conflict resources, and that the excluded sector of the population (that sharing neither class nor ethnicity with the governing group) is decisive in determining whether class or ethnic alliances form. As income inequality within a group increases, mobilization on that dimension becomes more likely if the excluded subgroup will bear less of the cost, and vice versa. The second chapter uses a model of conflict between two countries with informed leaders to examine the influence of domestic political concerns on the likelihood of truthful revelation and the probability of conflict. A democratic leader gains credibility through the need to inform his citizens, in order to maintain sufficient public support to remain in office. However, he may want to manipulate the population, if his desired strategy differs from that of the median voter. Results show that a democratic leader is more likely to falsely state that his country is vulnerable to attack when facing a democracy, but is more likely to understate the country's vulnerability when facing an autocracy. Regime type has a greater influence than information revelation on the probability of conflict, which is highest for a pair of autocracies and lowest for a pair of democracies, thus reinforcing the `democratic peace' hypothesis.
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