The Strategy of Conflict and Cooperation

47 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2021 Last revised: 5 Apr 2022

See all articles by Mehmet Ismail

Mehmet Ismail

King's College London, Department of Political Economy

Date Written: April 4, 2022


In this paper, I introduce (i) a novel and unified framework, called cooperative extensive form games, for the study of strategic competition and cooperation, which have been studied in specific contexts, and (ii) a novel solution concept, called cooperative equilibrium system. I show that non-cooperative extensive form games are a special case of cooperative extensive form games, in which players can strategically cooperate (e.g., by writing a possibly costly contract) or act non-cooperatively. To the best of my knowledge, I propose the first solution to the long-standing open problem of "strategic cooperation" first identified by von Neumann (1928). I have one main result to report: I prove that cooperative equilibrium system always exists in finite n-person cooperative strategic games with possibly imperfect information. The proof is constructive in the case of perfect information games.

Keywords: strategic cooperation, non-cooperative games, cooperative games, backward induction, extensive form games

JEL Classification: C70, D74

Suggested Citation

Ismail, Mehmet, The Strategy of Conflict and Cooperation (April 4, 2022). 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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