Information Problems and Incentives to Misrepresent

How does incomplete information cause war?

Takeaway Points

  1. Incomplete information may lead overly-optimistic states to make too large of demands. Rival states that are tougher than expected reject those demands and fight wars.
  2. What stops states from resolving the informational discrepancy? Weak states always have incentives to misrepresent—they would like to bluff to convince the other side to give up more in bargaining. This prevents talk from communicating anything meaningful.