Conversations in Conflict Studies with Shane Sanders

When: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 12:45 PM - 1:45 PM

Where: 400 Eggers Hall, the PARCC Conference Room


War’s Inefficiency Puzzle: An Examination Using Non-Cooperative Game Theory.” Guest Speaker: Shane Sanders, Associate Professor, Sports Economics & Analytics, Falk College of Sport & Human Dynamics, Syracuse University.

Fearon (1995) demonstrates within a continuous choice, contest model that conflict is inefficient (payoff-decreasing) when a settlement option exists.  Why, then, is conflict observed in various forms?  We demonstrate Fearon’s puzzle within a discrete choice, game-theoretic model of conflict (i.e., within a simplified or stylized game setting that serves to mimic Fearon’s payoff setting).  We call the game Fight or Settle.  Within the game, settlement division (e.g., over a conflicted territory) raises expected payoffs as compared to conflict division.  Despite being payoff-dominated, however, conflict division represents a unique Nash equilibrium within the game Fight or Settle.  As such, we can characterize Fight or Settle as a Prisoner’s Dilemma or Tragedy of the Commons type game, whereby an inefficient outcome occurs as a result of players independently (non-cooperatively) choosing a strategy.

Conversations in Conflict Studies is a weekly educational speaker series for students, faculty, and the community. The series, sponsored by PARCC, draws its speakers from Syracuse University faculty, national and international scholars and activists, and PhD students. Pizza is served. Follow us on Twitter @PARCCatMaxwell, tweet #ConvoInConflict.

If you require accommodations, please contact Deborah Toole by email at or by phone at 315.443.2367.