Chapter 1, “Bargaining and War”

Chapter 1, “Bargaining and War,” by Dan Reiter

Over the last two decades, the study of conflict has been dominated by the bargaining perspective on war.  This chapter introduces undergraduates to the bargaining view of war in a simple, thorough, and approachable fashion, using almost no math.  It presents the basic puzzle of the bargaining model of war: if two sides both knew who would win, why would they fight?  It discusses the three canonical solutions to this puzzle, information, commitment credibility, and indivisibility.  It then moves beyond examining the causes of war, applying bargaining insights to diplomacy during war, war termination, and civil wars.  After reviewing salient critiques of the bargaining model, it presents a case study of World War II in the Pacific, and reviews a quantitative study applying the bargaining model to international peacekeeping.

Most appropriate for introduction to international relations and war and politics classes.

What Makes This Chapter Different?

●Most readable explanation of the bargaining model of war on the market
●Application to causes of war, intrawar dynamics, and war termination
●Application to interstate and intrastate conflict
●Unique case study on World War II in the Pacific

Dr. Dan Reiter is the Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Political Science at Emory University. He is the author of several articles and books on international relations, including the award-winning How Wars End (Princeton, 2009).

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