Ke, Changxia; Konrad, Kai A.; Morath, Florian
Brothers in Arms - An Experiment on the Alliance Puzzle.
CESifo Working Papers, 3302
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Our experimental analysis of alliances in conflicts leads to three main findings. First, even in
the absence of repeated interaction, direct contact or communication, free-riding among
alliance members is far less pronounced than what would be expected from non-cooperative
theory. Second, this possible solidarity among ‘brothers in arms’ when fighting against an
outside enemy may rapidly deteriorate or disappear as soon as the outside enemy disappears.
Third, when fighting an outside enemy, ‘brothers in arms’ may already anticipate future
internal conflict about dividing the spoils of winning; however, this subsequent internal
conflict does not discourage alliance members from expending much effort in the contest
against the external enemy.