Intra-Group Competition and Inter-Group Conflict : An Application to Northern Ireland

Jennings, Colin (2008) Intra-Group Competition and Inter-Group Conflict : An Application to Northern Ireland. Discussion paper. University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.

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    Abstract

    This paper reviews four economic theories of leadership selection in conflictual settings. The first of these by Cukierman and Tomassi (1998) labeled the ‘information rationale’, argues that hawks may actually be necessary to initiate peace agreements. The second labeled the ‘bargaining rationale’ borrowing from Hamlin and Jennings (2007) agrees with the conventional wisdom that doves are more likely to secure peace, but post-conflict there are good reasons for hawks to be rationally selected. The third found in Jennings and Roelfsema (2008) is labeled the social psychological rationale. This captures the idea of a competition over which group can form the strongest identity, so can apply to group choices which do not impinge upon bargaining power. As in the bargaining rationale, dove selection can be predicted during conflict, but hawk selection post-conflict. Finally, the expressive rationale is discussed which predicts that regardless of the underlying structure of the game (informational, bargaining, psychological) the large group nature of decision-making by making individual decision makers non-decisive in determining the outcome of elections may cause them to make choices based primarily on emotions which may be invariant with the mode of group interaction, be it conflictual or peaceful. Finally, the paper analyses the extent to which the theories can throw light on Northern Ireland electoral history over the last 25 years.