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A Game-Free Microfoundation of Mutual Optimism

Marco Serena ()

Games, 2019, vol. 10, issue 4, 1-14

Abstract: One of the most widely accepted explanations for why wars occur despite its Pareto-suboptimality is mutual optimism: if both sides expect to gain a lot by fighting, war becomes inevitable. The literature on mutual optimism typically assumes mutually optimistic beliefs and shows that, under such an assumption, war may occur despite its Pareto-suboptimality. In a war–peace model, we show that, if players neglect the correlation between other players’ actions and their types—a well-established concept in economics—then players’ expected payoffs from war increase relative to conventional informational sophistication predictions, hence providing a microfoundation of mutual optimism.

Keywords: mutual optimism; incentives to go to war; information; correlation neglect (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C C7 C70 C71 C72 C73 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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Handle: RePEc:gam:jgames:v:10:y:2019:i:4:p:37-:d:271515