Public Choice

, Volume 96, Issue 1, pp 25–42

On the formation of alliances in conflict and contests

  • Stergios Skaperdas

DOI: 10.1023/A:1004912124496

Cite this article as:
Skaperdas, S. Public Choice (1998) 96: 25. doi:10.1023/A:1004912124496


This paper examines the problem of the formation of alliances in conflict and, more generally, in contests with three players. Each player possesses an exogenous strategic endowment (e.g., arms, efforts, rent-seeking activity). The outcome of contests, including those between any alliances of players, is governed by a Contest Success Function (CSF). In the three-person/one-cake problem an alliance between two players against the third one will form if and only if the CSF has an increasing returns characteristic. When an alliance forms, there is a tendency to be formed by the weaker players against the strongest player. Similar tendencies exist in other three-person problems that I examine.

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stergios Skaperdas
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of CaliforniaIrvineU.S.A.