The Supply Side Determinants of Territory and Conflict
47 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2018 Last revised: 27 Feb 2020
Date Written: October 5, 2018
What determines the geographic extent of territory? We introduce a simple application of contest theory that neatly captures Boulding's "Loss of Strength Gradient'' to show how economies of scale in the production of violence and varying costs of projecting power at a distance combine to affect the intensive and extensive margins of conflict and ultimately the geographic distribution of territory. We test and probe the boundaries of this model in an experiment varying the marginal costs of conflict over space and the fixed costs of entry. As predicted, both costs interact to increase the probability of exclusive territories, with median behavior closely tracking equilibrium predictions in all treatments.
Keywords: conflict, territory, experiments
JEL Classification: D74, C9, P48
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation