Communication in intergroup conflicts

Andreas Leibbrandt, Lauri Saaksvuori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Numerous studies suggest that communication may be a universal means to mitigate collective action problems. In this study, we challenge this view and show that the communication structure crucially determines whether communication mitigates or intensifies rent-seeking for pure public goods. We observe the effect of different communication structures in the context of a finitely repeated intergroup contest and demonstrate that conflict expenditures are significantly higher if communication is restricted to one s own group as compared to a situation with no communication. However, expenditures are significantly lower if open communication within one s own group and between rivaling groups is allowed. We show that under open communication intergroup conflicts are avoided by groups taking turns in winning the contest. Our results do not only qualify the role of communication for collective action but may also provide insights on how to mitigate the destructive nature of intergroup conflict and group rent-seeking.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1136 - 1147
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Economic Review
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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