Masaryk University, Czech Republic
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Abstract: The paper investigates the emergence of conflict in situations where actions are strategic complements. Misinformation regarding the malicious intent of one of the conflicting parties can potentially trigger such conflicts. We conduct a laboratory experiment wherein a third party, seeking to incite conflict, can send a public message about a player's intention. We manipulate the third party's incentive to signal aggressive intentions. Despite not providing any useful information, we observe that third-party communication increases the frequency of conflicts. To mitigate this effect, we test two interventions: providing information about the third party's interests and presenting a competing truthful message. However, we find that the effectiveness of these interventions is very limited. We argue that the mere presence of a message indicating malicious intent can disrupt coordination among conflicting parties.