Essays on the Application of Game Theory in International Relations and Law

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2023

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Abstract

This dissertation employs game theoretic techniques to examine various topics in international relations and law. Chapter 2 uses a crisis bargaining model that accounts for prior bargaining agreements to study the conditions under which states choose to engage in multiple wars over different issues. I find that a proposing state is willing to risk war with multiple states when they are overly optimistic about the state they are currently bargaining with being weak.

Chapter 3 uses a game theory model of complete information to study the conditions under which a third-party state will intervene in a civil conflict when it must account for a potential retaliation by another external state. I find that when choosing to intervene or not, the potential intervening state must weigh the costs of military action by the retaliating state and the political ramifications of issuing an empty threat against each other.

Finally, Chapter 4 uses a game theory model of asymmetric information to analyze how a criminal defendant's ability to crowdfund legal fees can impact a prosecutor's plea bargaining decision. I find that a prosecutor will offer a relatively lenient plea deal to defendants whom they perceive to have a high ability and can make the trial costs high, or who they believe are low ability defendants while facing high political costs. On the other hand, they will offer relatively harsh plea deals to defendants whom they perceive to have a high ability and the trial cost is low, or who they believe have a low ability while facing low political costs.

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Citation

Hardison, Kendrick (2023). Essays on the Application of Game Theory in International Relations and Law. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/29153.

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