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Continuing Conflict and Stalemate: A Note

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  • H56 - National Security And War
  • D74 - Conflict
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Alliances
  • J52 - Dispute Resolution: Strikes
  • Arbitration
  • And Mediation
  • Collective Bargaining
  • F51 - International Conflicts
  • Negotiations
  • Sanctions
  • Economics


This note is about the possibility of a stalemate in a continuing conflict. Following the prevailing economic literature on the topic, under some assumptions, the outcome of a conflict can be described in two ways: (i) a predetermined split of a contested output; (ii) a winner-take-all contest where the winning agent is capable to grab all the contested stake. By contrast, in reality many disputes do not have a clear or a definite outcome. A stalemate can end the conflict with the result of a draw. To allow for a stalemate, some formal modifications to the classical Hirshleifer’s model of conflict are needed. In particular, the possibility of a stalemate can be captured through a modified form of the Contest Success Function as axiomatized by Blavatskyy (2004). Under the possibility of a stalemate, the scenario exhibits a higher level of ‘guns’ than Hirshleifer’s classical model. At the same time, it also exhibits a lower degree of entropy.

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