Research Archive

On the escalation and de-escalation of conflict

Juan Lacomba, Francisco Lagos, Ernesto Reuben, Frans van Winden

Publication type: Journal article

Research Archive Topic: Business Economics and Public Policy, Organizations, Strategy


We introduce three extensions of the Hirshleifer-Skaperdas conflict game to study experimentally the effects of post-conflict behavior and repeated interaction on the allocation of effort between production and appropriation. Without repeated interaction, destruction of resources by defeated players can lead to lower appropriative efforts and higher overall efficiency. With repeated interaction, appropriative efforts are considerably reduced because some groups manage to avoid fighting altogether, often after substantial initial conflict. To attain peace, players must first engage in costly signaling by making themselves vulnerable and by forgoing the possibility to appropriate the resources of defeated opponents.

Download PDF


Lacomba, Juan, Francisco Lagos, Ernesto Reuben, and Frans van Winden. "On the escalation and de-escalation of conflict." Games and Economic Behavior 86 (July 2014): 40-57.

Each author name for a Columbia Business School faculty member is linked to a faculty research page, which lists additional publications by that faculty member.

Each topic is linked to an index of publications on that topic.