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Bargaining and Rationalist Explanations for War
Unformatted Document Text:  1 Bargaining and rationalist explanations for war Min Ye Department of Politics Coastal Carolina University P.O. Box 261954 Conway, SC 29528-6054 Email: ## email not listed ## A Paper Presented at the Annual Meeting of Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, 4-2008. ABSTRACT In this study, two widely-accepted norms in current bargaining literature are reexamined. First, I contend that traditional separation between crisis and intrawar bargaining lacks sound theoretical grounds therefore fails to capture the nature of using force in international politics. Instead, I propose a bargaining design that integrates traditional crisis and intrawar bargaining into a continuous process. Traditional difference between crisis and war is captured by their related bargaining costs and risks of losing control in each round of bargaining. Second, I apply such a design to reexamine the statement that war never occurs with complete information. Using a typical Rubinstein-style bargaining game, I demonstrate that war can be in subgame perfect equilibrium if some constraints on the bargaining process are relaxed. In such equilibrium, complete information helps participants to comprehensively evaluate their advantages and disadvantages on different dimensions. War will occur in equilibrium when the militarily strong state realizes that the opponent may use its other advantages (e.g., bargaining advantage and first-move advantage) in the bargaining process.

Authors: Ye, Min.
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Bargaining and rationalist explanations for war



Min Ye
Department of Politics
Coastal Carolina University
P.O. Box 261954
Conway, SC 29528-6054
Email: ## email not listed ##

A Paper Presented at the Annual Meeting of Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, 4-2008.
ABSTRACT
In this study, two widely-accepted norms in current bargaining literature are reexamined.
First, I contend that traditional separation between crisis and intrawar bargaining lacks
sound theoretical grounds therefore fails to capture the nature of using force in
international politics. Instead, I propose a bargaining design that integrates traditional
crisis and intrawar bargaining into a continuous process. Traditional difference between
crisis and war is captured by their related bargaining costs and risks of losing control in
each round of bargaining. Second, I apply such a design to reexamine the statement that
war never occurs with complete information. Using a typical Rubinstein-style bargaining
game, I demonstrate that war can be in subgame perfect equilibrium if some constraints on
the bargaining process are relaxed. In such equilibrium, complete information helps
participants to comprehensively evaluate their advantages and disadvantages on different
dimensions. War will occur in equilibrium when the militarily strong state realizes that the
opponent may use its other advantages (e.g., bargaining advantage and first-move
advantage) in the bargaining process.


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