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"Mutual Optimism and Costly Conflict: The Case of Naval" Topic

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18th Century
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206 hits since 8 Aug 2018
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP08 Aug 2018 12:57 p.m. PST

…. Battles in the Age of Sail
David Lindsey

" Because beliefs are unobservable, this theory is difficult
to test systematically. Here, I present a clean test that relies exclusively on observable variables by exploiting novel features of naval battles in the age of sail, most notably an admiral's ability to avoid battle by simply sailing away. Using a formal model, I show that the outcome of mutual naval battles, where both sides could avoid battle, should not be predictable from observable capability indicators. The outcome of unilateral battles, where only one side could avoid gething, should, however, be predictable from these same indicators. I test these predictions against all squadron-level British naval battles from 1650 to 1833. I show that observable strength indicators are substantially less predictive in mutual battles, con rming the core key theoretical prediction….."
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