Contests & Conflict | 07/14/2021 | 04:30 PM
How do Alliances Grow and Conflict Ensue? An Experiment on Conflict Network Formation

Speaker: Jie Zheng

Date & Time: Singapore (10:30 pm), Los Angeles (07:30 am), Cincinnati (10:30 am), Bath (3:30 pm), Munich (4:30 pm), Beijing (10:30 pm), Sydney (July 15, 12:30 am)

Jie Zheng will present his paper titled "How do Alliances Grow and Conflict Ensue? An Experiment on Conflict Network Formation" (joint work with Lu Dong, Lingbo Huang, and Jaimie W. Lien).

Abstract of the paper:

We conduct an experiment on a network formation game in which players can either befriend or attack another player in real time. Each pair of players forms an alliance if both send a friendly link to each other; they become rivals if at least one player attacks by sending a rival link. Using a within-subject design, we vary the cost of attacking and test whether a group reaches either a peaceful outcome in which all members are mutual friends or a bullying outcome in which three members form an alliance and all three attack the fourth member. Consistent with the theory prediction, over 90% groups reached either the peaceful or bullying outcome. Furthermore, there is a threshold level of the cost beyond which groups are significantly more likely to maintain peace instead of ending up in the bullying situation. The continuous time feature of our design provides a rich context to explore the dynamics of alliance formation and conflict. We find that some group-level state variables of the network in the first few seconds strongly predict the final network formation. Among groups that converge to the bullying outcome, forming a three-member alliance tends to precede coordinating on a common rival. Furthermore, a player who receives the first ever attack from any other players is far more likely to be the final common rival than other players, and these players’ efforts to escape from being bullied are mostly futile.

Chair: Qiang Fu, Co-Chair: Tracy Liu

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Max-Planck-Institut für Steuerrecht und Öffentliche Finanzen

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