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Intra-group competition and inter-group conflict : an application to Northern Ireland

Jennings, C. (2011) Intra-group competition and inter-group conflict : an application to Northern Ireland. Defence and Peace Economics, 22 (1). pp. 63-84. ISSN 1024-2694

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Abstract

This paper reviews four economic theories of leadership selection in conflict settings. The ‘credibility rationale’, argues that hawks may actually be necessary to initiate peace agreements. The ‘bargaining rationale’ predicts that while doves are more likely to secure peace, post-conflict hawks may be rationally selected. The ‘social psychological rationale’ captures the idea of a competition over which group can form the strongest identity. Dove selection can be predicted during conflict, but hawk selection post-conflict. Finally, the ‘expressive rationale’ predicts that regardless of the underlying nature of the game the large group nature of decision-making in rendering individual decision makers non-decisive in determining the outcome of elections may cause them to make choices based primarily on emotions. Finally, the paper analyses the extent to which the theories can throw light on Northern Ireland electoral history over the last 25 years.