Rational Appeasement

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Rational Appeasement
Daniel Treisman

Abstract Since Munich, appeasement—a policy of making unilateral concessions in the hope of avoiding conflict—has been considered a disastrous strategy+ Conceding to one adversary is thought to undermine the conceder’s reputation for resolve, provoking additional challenges+ Kreps, Wilson, Milgrom, and Roberts formalized this logic in their 1982 solutions to the “chain-store paradox+” I show with a series of models that if a state faces multiple challenges and has limited resources, the presumption against appeasement breaks down: appeasing in one arena may then be vital to conserve sufficient resources to deter in others+ I identify “appeasement” and “deterrence” equilibria, and I show that when the
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to characteristics of the local actor, and I label the deliberate lowering of demands on more aggressive local actors “anticipatory appeasement+” I show that in all equilibria in which local actors pay the transfer demanded, the maximum level of this transfer is lower for actors for whom fighting is
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