Side-Payments and the Cost of Conflict
Originally published in International Journal of Industrial Organization
Conflict and competition often impose costs on both winners and losers, and conflicting parties may prefer to resolve a dispute before it occurs.
Conflict and competition often impose costs on both winners and losers, and conflicting parties may prefer to resolve a dispute before it occurs. The equilibrium of a conflict game with side-payments predicts that with binding offers, proposers make and responders accept side-payments, generating settlements that strongly favor proposers. When side-payments are non-binding, proposers offer nothing and conflicts always arise. Laboratory experiments confirm that binding side-payments reduce conflicts. However, 30% of responders reject binding offers, and offers are more egalitarian than predicted. Surprisingly, non-binding side-payments also improve efficiency, although less than binding. With binding side-payments, 87% of efficiency gains come from avoided conflicts. However, with non-binding side-payments, only 39% of gains come from avoided conflicts and 61% from reduced conflict expenditures.
Find article at Science Direct.