Commitment Problems in Conflict Resolution

51 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2013 Last revised: 8 May 2015

See all articles by Erik O. Kimbrough

Erik O. Kimbrough

Chapman University - The George L. Argyros School of Business & Economics

Jared Rubin

Chapman University - The George L. Argyros School of Business & Economics

Roman M. Sheremeta

Case Western Reserve University

Timothy W. Shields

Chapman University - George L. Argyros School of Business & Economics; Chapman University - Economic Science Institute

Date Written: January 19, 2015

Abstract

Commitment problems are inherent to non-binding conflict resolution mechanisms, since an unsatisfied party can ignore the resolution and initiate conflict. We provide experimental evidence suggesting that even in the absence of binding contractual agreements individuals often avoid conflict by committing to the outcome of a conflict resolution mechanism. Commitment problems are mitigated to a greater extent for groups that opt-in to the conflict resolution mechanism, but only when opting-in is costly. Although conflict rates are higher when opting-in is costly than when it is free or exogenously imposed, commitment problems are greatly reduced amongst those groups who choose to opt-in.

Keywords: conflict resolution, commitment problem, opting-in, contests, experiments

JEL Classification: C72, C91, D72

Suggested Citation

Kimbrough, Erik O. and Rubin, Jared and Sheremeta, Roman M. and Shields, Timothy W., Commitment Problems in Conflict Resolution (January 19, 2015). Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Vol. 112, April, 2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2251525 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2251525

Erik O. Kimbrough

Chapman University - The George L. Argyros School of Business & Economics ( email )

One University Dr
Orange, CA 92866
United States

Jared Rubin

Chapman University - The George L. Argyros School of Business & Economics ( email )

One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.jaredcrubin.com

Roman M. Sheremeta (Contact Author)

Case Western Reserve University ( email )

10900 Euclid Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44106
United States

Timothy W. Shields

Chapman University - George L. Argyros School of Business & Economics ( email )

One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866
United States
714.289.2092 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/timothywshields/

Chapman University - Economic Science Institute ( email )

One University Dr.
Orange, CA 92866
United States

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