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Do groups fight more? Experimental evidence on conflict initiation

Changxia Ke (), Florian Morath and Sophia Seelos ()

Working Papers from Faculty of Economics and Statistics, Universität Innsbruck

Abstract: This paper investigates whether distributional conflicts become more likely when groups are involved in the fight. We present results from a laboratory experiment in which two parties can appropriate resources via a contest or, alternatively, take an outside option. Keeping monetary gains expected from fighting constant across all treatments, the experiment compares conflict choices of players in two-against-two, one-against-one, and two-against-one settings. Overall, we find evidence for a higher propensity to opt for conflict when entering the fight in a group than when having to fight as a single player. The effects are strongest in endogenously maintained groups and in the presence of group size advantages (i.e., in two-against-one). The results can be explained by a stronger non-monetary utility from fighting in (endogenous) groups and coincide with a biased perception of the fighting strength in asymmetric conflict.

Keywords: Conflict; contest; conflict resolution; group decision-making; group identity; alliance; experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C92 D70 D72 D74 D91 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2023
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-cdm, nep-exp and nep-upt
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1)

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