Team Games as Models of Intergroup Conflicts

Gary Bornstein & Roger Hurwitz

The internal problem of collective action that arises when groups, as opposed to individuals, are in conflict cannot be studied in the context of two-person games that treat the competing groups as unitary players. Traditional N-person games are also too restrictive for this purpose, since they ignore the conflict of interests between the groups. Because the intergroup conflict motivates the need for intragroup collective action, and the groups' respective success in mobilizing collective action determines the outcome of the intergroup competition, the intergroup and intragroup levels should be considered simultaneously. This paper: (a) proposes to model intergroup conflicts as team games (Palfrey & Rosenthal, 1983); (b) offers an initial taxonomy for this class of games; and (c) illustrates some applications for strategic analyses of intergroup conflict and political interactions.

June, 1993
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