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 the problem of collective action. We observe the eﬀect of diﬀerent communication structures on collective action in the context of ﬁnitely repeated intergroup conﬂict 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 conﬂicts.
- article pub. typess JER
- Research article
- article languages JER
- JEL-Classification for JER
- C72 - Noncooperative Games ; C91 - Laboratory, Individual Behavior ; C92 - Laboratory, Group Behavior ; D72 - Models of Political Processes: Rent-Seeking, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior ; D74 - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances