Linkage politics

  • Lohmann S
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In this article, the author extends the basic repeated prisoners' dilemma to allow for the linkage of punishment strategies across issues (issue linkage) as well as decentralized third-party enforcement (player linkage). The concepts of issue and player linkage are then synthesized to develop the notion of domestic-international linkage, which connects trigger strategy punishments across games played over different issues by different sets of players. In a two-level game, domestic and international cooperation may be reinforced by a punishment linkage; a defection in the domestic game may trigger a breakdown of international cooperation and vice versa. The author also examines the conditions under which the incentives to cooperate are stronger at the domestic level that at the international level and vice versa. With domestic-international linkage, the credibility surplus on one level spills over to offset the credibility deficit on the other level. Finally, the author provides conditions under which governments are better off delinking domestic and international issues.

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  • Susanne Lohmann

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