July, 2017

War and Conflict in Economics

Theories, Applications, and Recent Trends
  • Erik Kimbrough

  • Kevin Laughren

  • Roman Sheremeta

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We review the main economic models of war and conflict. These models vary in details, but their implications are qualitatively consistent, highlighting key commonalities across a variety of conflict settings. Recent empirical literature, employing both laboratory and field data, in many cases confirms the basic implications of conflict theory. However, this literature also presents important challenges to the way economists traditionally model conflict. We finish our review by suggesting ways to address these challenges.