Cornering the Market: Optimal Responses to Competitive Political Violence

The Global Political Seminar (GPS) series will feature Pitt Assistant Professor William Spaniel at Noon to 1:30 pm on Friday, Oct. 7, in Posvar Hall, 4500.  Spaniel is a political scientist, who studies war, nuclear proliferation and terrorism. Spaniel’s talk will focus on his paper “Cornering the Market: Optimal Responses to Competitive Political Violence.”  GSPIA Associate Professor Michael Kenney will serve as the discussant.

Assistant Professor William Spaniel 
Abstract: I develop a model that indigenizes entry into the market of competitive political violence. In equilibrium, an existing group may overproduce violence to corner their market and deter entry by a potential competitor. Contrary to some hypotheses about outbidding, violence can therefore be greater with only a single group than when the second group enters the market. I then investigate four manners by which a target government might mitigate the violence: offensive measures that undermine the lead group’s marginal cost of violence, defensive measures that absorb a portion of all violence, deterrent measures that increase the cost of group formation, and concessions to the group’s audience to reduce grievances. Of these, only defensive measures are guaranteed to decrease violence; increasing the burden of entry and decreasing grievances can counterintuitively increase violence.

About GPS:
Global Politics Seminar (GPS) is jointly sponsored between GSPIA and the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Political Science. The seminar series invites scholars to present academic work in progress in the field of international relations. 

Upcoming Seminar 
GPS will feature Bear Braumoeller (from Ohio State University) Friday, October 14, 10:15-11:45, Posvar 4500. 

Matthew B. Ridgway Center for International Security Studies
3930 Wesley W. Posvar Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260