A Study of the Triggers of Conflict and Emotional Reactions

Games, Forthcoming

24 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2017 Last revised: 19 Nov 2017

See all articles by Michael Caldara

Michael Caldara

Amazon.com

Michael T. McBride

University of California, Irvine - Department of Economics

Matthew W. McCarter

University of Texas at San Antonio; Chapman University - Economic Science Institute

Roman M. Sheremeta

Case Western Reserve University

Date Written: March 30, 2017

Abstract

We study three triggers of conflict and explore their resultant emotional reactions in a laboratory experiment. Economists suggest that the primary trigger of conflict is monetary incentives. Social psychologists suggest that conflicts are often triggered by fear. Finally, evolutionary biologists suggest that a third trigger is uncertainty about opponent’s desire to cause harm. Consistent with the predictions from economics, social psychology, and evolutionary biology, we find that conflict originates from all three triggers. The three triggers differently impact the frequency of conflict, but not the intensity. Also, we find that the frequency and intensity of conflict decrease positive emotions and increase negative emotions, and that conflict impacts negative emotions more than positive emotions.

Keywords: Conflict, Incentives, Fear, Uncertainty, Laboratory Experiment, Reverse Dictator Game, Joy of Destruction Game

JEL Classification: C72, C91, D74

Suggested Citation

Caldara, Michael and McBride, Michael T. and McCarter, Matthew W. and Sheremeta, Roman M., A Study of the Triggers of Conflict and Emotional Reactions (March 30, 2017). Games, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2943699 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2943699

Michael Caldara

Amazon.com ( email )

Seattle, WA 98144
United States

Michael T. McBride

University of California, Irvine - Department of Economics ( email )

3151 Social Science Plaza
Irvine, CA 92697-5100
United States

Matthew W. McCarter

University of Texas at San Antonio ( email )

One UTSA Circle
San Antonio, TX 78249
United States

Chapman University - Economic Science Institute ( email )

One University Dr.
Orange, CA 92866
United States

Roman M. Sheremeta (Contact Author)

Case Western Reserve University ( email )

10900 Euclid Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44106
United States

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