The Story of Conflict and Cooperation

27 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2018 Last revised: 13 Feb 2021

See all articles by Mehmet Ismail

Mehmet Ismail

King's College London, Department of Political Economy

Date Written: May 28, 2020


The story of conflict and cooperation has started millions of years ago, and now it is everywhere: In biology, computer science, economics, political science, and psychology. Examples include wars, airline alliances, trade, oligopolistic cartels, corruption, the evolution of species and genes, and team sports. However, neither cooperative games nor noncooperative games—in which "each player participant independently without collaboration with any of the others" (Nash, 1951)—fully capture the competition between and across individuals and groups, and the strategic partnerships that give rise to such groups. Thus, one needs to extend the noncooperative framework to study strategic games like scientific publication, which is a rather competitive game, yet (strategic) collaboration is widespread. In this paper, I propose a novel framework and a solution concept: I introduce the recursive backward induction solution in coalitional extensive-form games in which players are free to cooperate to coordinate their actions or act independently.

Keywords: conflict, cooperation, strategy, backward induction, extensive-form games

JEL Classification: C70, D74

Suggested Citation

Ismail, Mehmet, The Story of Conflict and Cooperation (May 28, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Mehmet Ismail (Contact Author)

King's College London, Department of Political Economy ( email )

London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom


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