War and Peace in the Shadow of the Future

Last registered on December 01, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

War and Peace in the Shadow of the Future
Initial registration date
November 19, 2023

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
December 01, 2023, 4:53 AM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.



Primary Investigator

Shandong University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
CNRS, University of Lyon
PI Affiliation
Shandong University
PI Affiliation
Shandong University

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
The Thucydides Trap theory postulates that a rising power will inevitably challenge the status of an established power, and the established power will also take measures to restrain and suppress the rising power. Conflict between the two is seen as unavoidable. We test weather future economic prospects matter. If future economic prospects are positive, both parties are more likely to engage in cooperation, whereas if prospects are negative, conflicts are more likely to arise. We use a lab experiment to test cooperation and conflict between a rising power and an established power and how future economic prospects (a growing versus a declining total pie) affect the occurrence of conflict. We further explore possible measures to avoid conflict in this background.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Jiang, Shuguang et al. 2023. "War and Peace in the Shadow of the Future." AEA RCT Registry. December 01. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.12539-1.0
Experimental Details


The experiment consists of three main conditions (treatments):
a) The control treatment in which the total resource is kept fixed in each period;
b) The growth treatment in which the total resources grow by a fixed amount after each period;
c) Tthe decline treatment in which the total resources decrease by a fixed amount after each period.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Our study primarily aims to examine whether there are differences in the challenging rate across treatments.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We employ a dynamic bargaining game in which two players decide to allocate a pie among themselves. The relative strenghs of the two players change over time. We use this game to capture the nature of the Thucydides Trap that a rising power competes with a established power. We will vary how the amount of the pie changes over time in different treatments to capture the role of future economic prospects on behavior and the conflict rate: in a control treatment in which the pie is kept fixed over time; in a growth treatment the pie grows by a fixed percentage across period; and in a decline treatment the pie decreases by a fixed percentage over time.
Experimental Design Details
In this dynamic bargaining game, two players A and B decide how to allocate a pie in each period. The default allocation scheme in each period is an equal split of 50-50. Both players choose either Maintain or Challenge simultaneously. The relative strengths of the two players are denoted as a and b, where a+b=1. In the first period, a is equal to 0.2 and b is equal to 0.8. Then a increases by 0.03 while b decreases by 0.03 after each period. If both players choose Maintain, the pie is shared equally between them. However, if either player chooses Challenge, a conflict arises. As a result, the pie will decrease to 90% of its initial amount and the gains for both players are determined by their respective strengths. Additionally, the player who chooses Challenge has to pay a challenging cost. The game repeats for 21 periods
Randomization Method
We randomly assign subjects into different treatments.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
150 pairs
Sample size: planned number of observations
300 subjects
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
100 subjects for each treatment
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Based on a pilot, the average conflict rate is 0.80 (Std. Dev. 0.15) in the decline treatment and 0.68 (Std. Dev. 0.20) in the growth treatment, an effect size of 0.68 is detected. With alpha 0.05 and power 0.80, a minimun sample of 24 pairs per treatment is needed. With our sample size, a minimum detectable effect size is 0.46, given a power of 0.8 and alpha 0.05.

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials