interaction within and across nations involves conflict and
cooperation. Disagreement between a country’s population
and its leadership can cause internal conflict, oppression
and terrorism. War (whether it occurs across nations or in
the form of civil violence) is not only a fundamental and
recurring cause of human suffering but also one of the main
impediments of economic development. This research area focuses
on the fundamental causes of conflict and cooperation using
a rigorous methodological approach that combines empirical
research and formal modeling and brings together economists
and political scientists.
One of the important insights generated by this research is
that conflict often arises even though there is some cooperative
solution that would have satisfied all the relevant actors.
For example, mutual fear can trigger conflict as a defensive
strategy to forestall attack by an opponent. On the one hand,
communication of motives or confidence-building measures,
such as allowing arms inspections, may diffuse tension. On
the other hand, they may increase the chances of conflict
by exposing the strength or weakness of a country’s
arms capabilities. Similarly, desire for political survival
will force a country’s leader to appease supporters.
Will this increase or decrease the chances of conflict or
cooperation? Does the domestic political system play an important
in influencing the probability of conflict? For example, are
democracies indeed more likely to be peaceful than other political
systems? These and other issues will be the focus of this
research enterprise. It will also offer policy prescriptions
towards arms inspections, counter-terrorism and sponsorship
violent conflict constitutes a paradigmatic case to analyze
the drivers of conflict and its resolution, the ensuing lessons
can also be applied in various other contexts. Importantly,
similar conflict dynamics exist within business settings.
Disagreement between workers and owners can lead to costly
delays due to strikes and other forms of labor strife. Firms
can trigger price wars that destroy value and drive them into
bankruptcy. Activists can target firms or industries to change
their business practices. The general goal of the research
group is to study conflict features in these various domains
and propose policies to avoid such conflict.
group runs an annual conference centered around these themes.
This year's conference: May 13-14, 2013 Conflict
and Cooperation Conference
links to the schedules of past and upcoming conferences:
Conflict and Cooperation May 2012
Conflict and Cooperation April 2011
Conflict and Cooperation November 2008
Conflict and Cooperation November 2007
and Cooperation March 2006
and Cooperation November 2006
related to this project and any questions about the conference
contact Professor Sandeep
Baliga, Director, Initiative on Conflict and Cooperation.