References (33)


Footnotes (17)



Rationalist Experiments on War

Kai Quek

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)


MIT Political Science Department Research Paper No. 2011-17
APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper

Private information and the commitment problem are fundamental to the rationalist theory of war, but causal evidence is scarce, as rationalist explanations for war are difficult to test with observational data. I design laboratory experiments to isolate the effects of private information and the commitment problem on the risk of conflict. I find that the commitment problem sharply increases the incidence of conflict, but there is no significant difference in conflict incidence with or without private information in the shadow of shifting power. A case study of Japan's decision making on the eve of the Pacific War investigates the realism of the positive experimental findings. The project shows how formal, experimental and historical methods may be integrated in the study of the causes of war. Convergent results from the different methods strengthen the causal inference.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 39

Open PDF in Browser Download This Paper

Date posted: August 1, 2011 ; Last revised: May 6, 2015

Suggested Citation

Quek, Kai, Rationalist Experiments on War (2011). MIT Political Science Department Research Paper No. 2011-17; APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1900758 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1900758

Contact Information

Kai Quek (Contact Author)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )
77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States
Feedback to SSRN

Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 950
Downloads: 225
Download Rank: 53,735
References:  33
Footnotes:  17

© 2015 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo2 in 0.313 seconds