In December 2016, Antoine Pietri defended his PhD dissertation entitled “Conflict economics in light of Contest Theory” at the Centre d’Économie de la Sorbonne (CES) of University Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne. He was awarded a PhD degree in Economics.
His PhD dissertation deals with how conflicts, violence and appropriation shape economic behaviors regarding transactions. In particular, it demonstrates that economics does not take sufficient account of the role of the use of force in individual and international relations.
More specifically, Antoine’s PhD dissertation consists of four research articles. In the first one, he offers a complete overview of the “Contest Theory” framework, which considers that agents face a trade-off between guns and butter. In other words, an agent can devote her resources either to appropriative activity (“guns”) or to productive activities (“butter”).
The second article deals with territorial expansions of empires. It shows that the more the population detains easily redeployable assets, the more merchant empires (such as the Venetian empire) dominate the other forms of empire.
The third chapter studies the motivation which can explain the existence of arms trade between enemies. It shows that if the seller has a higher productivity both in military and civilian technologies, there exists a mutually beneficial agreement, even if countries are enemies.
Last, in the fourth article, Antoine proposes to use virtual worlds in order to have a better understanding of real conflicts. Original data are collected from the video game EVE Online. The article attempts to determine key factors explaining victory on the battlefield among the ratio of forces of belligerents, the relative difference of forces, and the absolute difference. Empirical results seem to indicate that the ratio of forces committed to the battlefield by belligerents is the best predictor of a victory. Following this line of reasoning, new research projects will arise from the use of virtual worlds for conflict and defense questions.