Current rationalist explanations of war have been influenced by the treatment of war as a bargaining problem. This treatment introduces what is termed the ‘puzzle of war’. The puzzle of war depends on the proposition that the exogenous costs of war guarantee the existence of an ex ante bargaining range of mutually acceptable peaceful outcomes that are preferable to war. This article examines how this puzzle has been constructed and justified in order to support this proposition. Two conclusions are reached: the costs of war are neither necessary for the existence of a peaceful settlement when an allocation or division is exogenous, nor are the costs of war sufficient for the existence of a bargaining range, when equilibrium is endogenous.
Quality & Quantity – Springer Journals
Published: May 5, 2015
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