Political Theory

Strategy Under Uncertainty: International Conflict and Variation in Information



When do states stand firm, back down, concede or settle with the status quo? The crisis bargaining literature offers a rich assessment of the dynamics of international conflict, accounting for variation in the cost of conflict and the domestic audience cost. Yet, the literature does not consider the role of variation in information available to states engaged in a conflict — limiting our ability to theorise about states’ strategy under different levels of uncertainty. In this article, we extend the existing game theory models of crisis bargaining, to allow for variation in information, and show that uncertainty and costs are separate mechanisms in respect to states behaviour. Moreover, we generate a set of propositions in respect to threats effectiveness and prospects of conflict onset for different values of uncertainty.

Version notes

We have made the working paper more focused on the variation in information and expanded the literature. No changes in the model and the predictions.


Thumbnail image of Threats_Theoretical.pdf


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