Astate bargains tacitly with another state when it attempts to manipulate the latter's policy choices through its behavior rather than by relying on formal or informal diplomatic exchanges. The process is tacit because actions rather than rhetoric constitute the critical medium of communication; it is bargaining and not coercion because the actions are aimed at influencing an outcome that can only be achieved through some measure of joint, voluntary behavior. Obviously, states rarely rely on either purely tacit or purely formal negotiation. However, the theory of tacit bargaining does not become totally inapplicable when there is verbal or written communication between the principals. It simply becomes increasingly relevant as states rely more on actions than on conventional negotiation. Examples of tacit bargaining are plentiful in international relations: a retaliatory tariff is announced in response to trade barriers; a state at war refrains from using chemical weapons or from bombing nonmilitary targets in the hope that its opponent will behave similarly; an austerity program is implemented by a financially troubled government in order to convince foreign banks that they should continue to extend credit.
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