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Political Bias and War

Jackson, Matthew O. and Morelli, Massimo (2006) Political Bias and War. Social Science Working Paper, 1247. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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We examine the incentives for countries to go to war as they depend on the comparison between how much their pivotal decision-makers have at risk and how much they stand to gain from a war. How this ratio compares to the country at large is what we term "political bias." If there is no political bias, then there are always payments that one country would like to make to the other that will avoid a war in the presence of commitment or enforceability of peace treaties. If there is a bias on the part of one or both countries, then war can result and in some cases cannot be prevented by any transfer payments. We examine how war technology and relative wealth levels interact with political bias in determining whether countries make transfers, go to war, and form alliances. Our results shed some new light on the uneven contender paradox and the interpretation of the "democratic peace".

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Jackson, Matthew O.0000-0001-9846-4249
Additional Information:We are grateful for financial support from the National Science Foundation under grant SES-0316493, the Guggenheim Foundation, and from the Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Sciences. We thank M. Battaglini, J. Eguia, G. Gatta, D. Jankowski, T. Kim, L. Mathevet, E. Rasmusen, D. Verdier, C. Volden and L. Zambernardi for helpful comments on an earlier draft, and participants at seminars for useful feedback.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Funding AgencyGrant Number
John Simon Guggenheim FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral SciencesUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:War, Political Bias, Alliances, Bargaining, Transfers, Commitment, Democratic Peace, War Technology
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:1247
Classification Code:JEL: C78, D74
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170802-103618263
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:79752
Deposited By: Hanna Storlie
Deposited On:02 Aug 2017 17:49
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:23

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