Anarchy, uncertainty, and dispute settlement : an endogenous-war model
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Belligerents are usually bargainers–they negotiate to reach an agreement and they fight to affect the negotiations. In general, a government at war considers a compromise peace when it has become sufficiently skeptical of its ability to subdue the adversary on the battlefield at tolerable costs. Thus even disputants that have started a war due to the collapse of prewar bargaining may not have to fight to the finish. The dissertation examines how dispute outcomes vary because even at war disputants can negotiate for a compromise settlement, and how treating war as a simple matter of military strategy can be misleading about the causes of war. If diplomacy does not stop despite the initiation of hostilities, then a belligerent can employ its forces more efficiently for conflict resolution by improving its bargaining strategy whenever it gains new information about the true state of affairs, and by holding out for the adversary’s concession until its assessment of the future development on the battlefield becomes sufficiently pessimistic. Thus an ironical situation can arise with two antagonists acting strategically against each other: a disputant which would not go to war if it should fight to the finish can decide to risk a war and a disputant which is actually resolved to fight long enough to coerce its terms on the adversary may not be able to demonstrate its determination without fighting long indeed. As a result, a monotonic relationship hardly arises between disputants’ expected war costs, their relative military strength, the scope of the stake at issue, or the status quo distribution of that stake on one hand and the probability of war initiation or dispute settlement on the other. The dissertation uses deduction to derive the main arguments and induction to test their empirical relevance. For deduction, it develops and analyzes a gamble engaging horse races and a two-person asymmetric bargaining game that encompasses prewar bargaining and the process of negotiating while fighting on the assumption that the conflict terminates whenever the players reach an agreement. For induction, it statistically analyzes the battles fought at the initial stages of the First World War and the militarized interstate dispute data (1996) and the Correlates of War interstate war data (1992).