Investment under uncertainty in dynamic conflicts

Mattias Polborn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper analyses a model in which two groups repeatedly compete with each other for a prize in every time period. We assume that there is a status quo bias: if there is a fight today, yesterday's winner is in a stronger position than the other group. Hence, a change of the status quo has long-term consequences that groups need to take into account. Important applications of this model include lobbying for legislation and political transitions through revolutions. We analyse the strategic timing of attacks on the status quo, which is similar to investment decisions under uncertainty.We find that the attack threshold is considerably lower than in a comparable one-period game, and that the expenditure level necessary to change the status quo is low in comparison to the prize; this provides a possible solution to Tullock's rent-seeking paradox in lobbying.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)505-529
Number of pages25
JournalReview of Economic Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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