The Status Quo Preference in Conflict Resolution (in German: Der Status quo als Maßstab der Konfliktlösung), 2006, forthcoming in: Konflikt, Macht und Gewalt in polit-ökonomischer Perspektive, ed. by B. Neumärker, Metropolis.
Is secession an appropriate way of resolving interior conflicts or should internationally recognized borders be sacrosanct in conflict resolution? This paper focuses on cases where the lack of a commitment technology is the cause of a conflict. If there is no credible commitment regarding future policies inefficient conflicts may emerge. If after an initial shock the parties to the conflict expect their relative strength to remain permanent, it may be possible to overcome the commitment problem by devising a contract or a constitutional arrangement. If relative strength varies or if the gains to deviating are sufficiently great, there is no straight-forward way of solving the commitment problem.
Short Term Power Asymmetries as Cause of Internal Conflict
In the presence of short-term power asymmetries between conflicting parties stable bargaining solutions may not be available. This is true even if the pay off structure of the conflict game is otherwise stationary. We argue that such power asymmetries are likely in conflicts over secession where the union is in a strong position before the outbreak of conflict. A prediction of the model is that if the present value of combined expected fighting costs is sufficiently small, persistent fighting is an equilibrium of the game. Our analysis may offer a rational explanation for such conflicts as the Kosovo war.LINK