Political Bias and War
Jackson, Matthew O., and
Massimo Morelli. 2007. "Political Bias and War."
American Economic Review,
We examine how countries' incentives to go to war depend on the "political bias"
of their pivotal decision makers. This bias is measured by a decision makerís risk/
reward ratio from a war compared to that of the country at large. If there is no
political bias, then there are mutually acceptable transfers from one country to
the other that will avoid a war in the presence of commitment or enforceability of
peace treaties. There are cases with a strong enough bias on the part of one or both
countries where war cannot be prevented by any transfer payments. Our results
shed some new light on the uneven contender paradox and the interpretation of the
"democratic peace." We examine countries' choices of the bias of their leaders and
show that when transfers are possible, at least one country will choose a biased
leader, as that leads to a strong bargaining position and extraction of transfers.
(JEL D72, D74)
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Jackson, Matthew O.