Bargaining and Conflict with Incomplete Information
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This paper studies bargaining and conflict under incomplete information, provides an overview and a critical account of the literature on the topic and contributes with original research. We first revise models of mechanism design and sequential bargaining that take confrontation as final. Conflict and inefficiencies are to be expected in these models whenever parties have optimistic prospects on the outcome of the all-out conflict. After examining the causes and reasons for this optimism, we move to the analysis of the recent literature that considers the existence of limited confrontations that allow bargaining to resume. In the presence of private information, these limited conflicts convey information and thus become a bargaining instrument. The paper closes with a discussion on the related empirical literature, the challenges that it faces and some potential avenues for further research.