Brothers in Arms - An Experiment on the Alliance Puzzle
Kai A. Konrad
Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance; Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
Lingnan (University) College, Sun Yat-sen University
Goethe University Frankfurt; Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance
December 1, 2010
WZB Markets and Politics Working Paper No. SP II 2010-18
Our experimental analysis of alliances in conflicts leads to three main findings. First, even in the absence of repeated interaction, direct contact or communication, free-riding among alliance members is far less pronounced than what would be expected from non-cooperative theory. Second, this possible solidarity among 'brothers in arms' when fighting against an outside enemy may rapidly deteriorate or disappear as soon as the outside enemy disappears. Third, when fighting an outside enemy, 'brothers in arms' may already anticipate future internal conflict about dividing the spoils of winning; however, this subsequent internal conflict does not discourage alliance members from expending much effort in the contest against the external enemy.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 39
Keywords: Alliance, conflict, contest, free-riding, hold-up problem, solidarity
JEL Classification: D72, D74
Date posted: December 15, 2010
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