Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-6c8bd87754-827q6 Total loading time: 0.29 Render date: 2022-01-17T03:35:53.225Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

How Democratic Alliances Solve the Power Parity Problem

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 November 2015

Abstract

Why do challengers attack some states that have allies, while avoiding conflict with others? This article builds upon previous research by arguing that parity in the observable capabilities of opposing states and their allies generates greater uncertainty and miscalculations on the part of challengers, which leads to a higher probability of conflict. Unlike previous research, however, this article argues that military alliances among democracies are better able to overcome this uncertainty, making power distributions largely irrelevant. The results demonstrate that uncertainty generated at power parity is mitigated when a target state’s allies are more democratic, resulting in no overall change in the probability of conflict. This study therefore emphasizes that the effectiveness of military alliances lies not necessarily in their aggregation of power, but in their ability to co-ordinate their power and communicate this co-ordination to potential challengers.

Type
Articles
Copyright
© Cambridge University Press 2015 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Footnotes

*

University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Department of Political Science and Public Administration, 450B Fretwell Bldg., 9201 University City Blvd., Charlotte, North Carolina 28202 (email: justinconrad@uncc.edu). I would like to thank Mark Souva, David Siegel, William Reed, Robert Art and Will Moore for their guidance and helpful suggestions on this project. Data replication sets are available at https://dataverse.harvard.edu/dataverse/BJPolS, and online appendices are available at http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1017/S0007123415000538.

References

Alvarez, R. Michael, and Brehm, John. 1995. American Ambivalence Towards Abortion Policy: Development of a Heteroskedastic Probit Model of Competing Values. American Journal of Political Science 39:10551082.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Barnett, Michael N., and Levy, Jack S.. 1991. Domestic Sources of Alliances and Alignments: The Case of Egypt, 1962–1973. International Organization 45:369395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bearce, David H., Flanagan, Kristen M., and Floros, Katharine M.. 2006. Alliances, Internal Information, and Military Conflict Among Member-States. International Organization 60 (3):595625.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bennett, D. Scott. 1997. Testing Alternative Models of Alliance Duration, 1816–1984. American Journal of Political Science 41 (3):846878.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bennett, D. Scott, and Stam, Allan C.. 2000. A Universal Test of an Expected Utility Theory of War. International Studies Quarterly 44 (3):451480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Blainey, Geoffrey. 1988. The Causes of War. New York: Simon and Schuster.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Braumoeller, Bear F. 2006. Explaining Variance; or, Stuck in a Moment We Can’t Get Out Of. Political Analysis 14 (3):268290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bremer, Stuart A. 1992. Dangerous Dyads: Conditions Affecting the Likelihood of Interstate War, 1816–1965. Journal of Conflict Resolution 36:309341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce. 1975. Measuring Systemic Polarity. Journal of Conflict Resolution 19 (2):187216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce, and Lalman, David. 1992. War and Reason. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce, and Downs, George W.. 2006. Intervention and Democracy. International Organization 60 (3):627649.Google Scholar
Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce, Morrow, James D., and Zorick, Ethan R.. 1997. Capabilities, Perception, and Escalation. American Political Science Review 93 (4):1527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce, Morrow, James D., Siverson, Ralph M., and Smith, Alastair. 1999. An Institutional Explanation of the Democratic Peace. The American Political Science Review 93 (4):791807.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce, Smith, Alastair, Siverson, Ralph M., and Morrow, James D.. 2005. The Logic of Political Survival. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
Carter, David B., and Signorino, Curtis S.. 2010. Back to the Future: Modeling Time Dependence in Binary Data. Political Analysis 18:271292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Choi, Ajin. 2003. The Power of Democratic Cooperation. International Security 28 (1):142153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Christensen, Thomas J., and Snyder, Jack. 1990. Chain Gangs and Passed Bucks: Predicting Alliance Patterns in Multipolarity. International Organization 44 (2):137168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cowhey, Peter. F. 1993. Domestic Institutions and the Credibility of International Commitments. International Organization 47:299326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
DiCicco, Jonathan, and Levy, Jack. 1999. Power Shifts and Problem Shifts. Journal of Conflict Resolution 43:269284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Downs, George, and Rocke, David. 1979. Interpreting Heteroscedasticity. American Journal of Political Science 23:816828.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fearon, James D. 1992. Threats to Use Force: Costly Signals and Bargaining in International Crises. Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Berkeley.Google Scholar
Fearon, James D. 1994. Domestic Political Audiences and the Escalation of International Disputes. American Political Science Review 88:577592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fearon, James D. 1995. Rationalist Explanations for War. International Organization 49 (3):379414.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fearon, James D. 1997. Signaling Foreign Policy Interests: Tying Hands Versus Sinking Costs. Journal of Conflict Resolution 41 (1):6890.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gartzke, Eric, and Gleditsch, Kristian Skrede. 2004. Why Democracies May Actually Be Less Reliable Allies. American Journal of Political Science 48 (4):775795.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gaubatz, Kurt Taylor. 1996. Democratic States and Commitment in International Relations. International Organization 50:109130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Geller, Daniel S. 1993. Power Differentials and War in Rival Dyads. International Studies Quarterly 37 (2):173193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gelpi, Christopher, and Grieco, Joseph. 2001. Democracy, Leadership Tenure, and the Targeting of Militarized Challenges. Journal of Conflict Resolution 45 (6):794817.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gibler, Douglas M., and Vasquez, John A.. 1998. Uncovering the Dangerous Alliances, 1495–1980. International Studies Quarterly 42 (4):785807.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gochman, Charles. 1990. Capability-Driven Disputes. In Prisoners of War?, edited by Gochman and Sabrosky, 141159. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
Hoff, Peter D., and Ward, Michael D.. 2004. Modeling Dependencies in International Relations Networks. Political Analysis 12:160175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Huth, Paul K. 1996. Standing Your Ground: Territorial Disputes and International Conflict. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Huth, Paul K., and Allee, Todd L.. 2002. Domestic Political Accountability and the Escalation and Settlement of International Disputes. The Journal of Conflict Resolution 46 (6):754790.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jervis, Robert. 1976. Perception and Misperception in International Politics, Vol. 49. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Jones, Bryan D. 1999. Bounded Rationality. Annual Review of Political Science 2 (1):297321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jones, Daniel M., Bremer, Stuart A., and David Singer, J.. 1996. Militarized Interstate Disputes, 1816–1992: Rationale, Coding Rules, and Empirical Patterns. Conflict Management and Peace Science 15 (2):163213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kahneman, Daniel, and Tversky, Amos. 1979. Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision Under Risk. Econometrica 47:263291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kahneman, Daniel, and Tversky, Amos. 1984. Choices, Values and Frames. American Psychology 39:341350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Keele, Luke, and Park, David K.. 2004. Difficult Choices: An Evaluation of Heterogenous Choice Models. Paper Presented at the 2004 Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Chicago, IL, 2–5 September.Google Scholar
Kegley, Charles. W., Jr., and Raymond, Gregory. A.. 1994. A Multipolar Peace? Great-Power Politics in the Twenty-First Century. New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
Kim, Woosang. 1989. Power, Alliance, and Major Wars, 1816–1975. Journal of Conflict Resolution 33:255273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kim, Woosang. 1991. Alliance Transitions and Great Power War. American Journal of Political Science 35:833850.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kim, Woosang. 2003. Power Parity, Alliance, Dissatisfaction, and Wars in East Asia, 1860–1993. Journal of Conflict Resolution 46 (5):654671.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kugler, Jacek, and Organski, Abramo. F. K.. 1980. The War Ledger. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Lebow, Richard Ned. 1981. Between Peace and War: The Nature of International Crisis. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
Leeds, Brett Ashley. 1999. Domestic Political Institutions, Credible Commitments, and International Cooperation. American Journal of Political Science 43:9791002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Leeds, Brett Ashley. 2003a. Do Alliances Deter Aggression? The Influence of Military Alliances on the Initiation of Militarized Interstate Disputes. American Journal of Political Science 47 (3):427439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Leeds, Brett Ashley. 2003b. Alliance Reliability in Times of War: Explaining State Decisions to Violate Treaties. International Organization 57 (4):801827.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Leeds, Brett Ashley. 2005a. Alliances and the Expansion and Escalation of Militarized Interstate Disputes. In New Directions for International Relations, edited by Alex Mintz and Bruce Russett, 117134. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
Leeds, Brett Ashley. 2005b. The Alliance Treaty Obligations and Provisions Project. Available from http://atop.rice.edu/home, accessed 12 December 2011.Google Scholar
Leeds, Brett Ashley, and Savun, Burcu. 2007. Terminating Alliances: Why Do States Abrogate Agreements? Journal of Politics 69 (4):11181132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Leeds, Brett Ashley, Mattes, Michaela, and Vogel, Jeremy S.. 2009. Interests, Institutions and the Reliability of International Commitments. American Journal of Political Science 53 (2):461476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lemke, Doug, and Werner, Suzanne. 1996. Power Parity, Commitment to Change and War. International Studies Quarterly 40:235260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Levy, Jack S. 1981. Alliance Formation and War Behavior: An Analysis of the Great Powers, 1495–1975. Journal of Conflict Resolution 25 (4):581613.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mansfield, Edward, Milner, Helen, and Rosendorff, Peter. 2002. Why Democracies Cooperate More: Electoral Control and International Trade Agreements. International Organization 56 (3):477513.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Marshall, Monty, Jaggers, Keith, and Gurr, Ted. 2006. Polity IV Project: Political Regime Characteristics and Transitions, 1800–2004. Available from http://www.cidcm.umd.edu/polity/, accessed 1 May 2009.Google Scholar
Martin, Lisa L. 2000. Democratic Commitments: Legislatures and International Cooperation. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Moore, Will H., and Tarar, Ahmer. 2010. Domestic-International Conflict Linkages. In The International Studies Encyclopedia, edited by Robert A. Denemark. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, Blackwell Reference Online. Available at: http://www.isacompendium.com/public/.Google Scholar
Morgenthau, Hans J. 1967. Politics Among Nations, 4th Edition. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.Google Scholar
Morrow, James D. 1991. Alliances and Asymmetry: An Alternative to the Capability Aggregation Model of Alliances. American Journal of Political Science 35 (4):904933.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Morrow, James D. 1994. Alliances, Credibility, and Peacetime Costs. Journal of Conflict Resolution 38 (2):270297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Morrow, James D. 1999. The Strategic Setting of Choices: Signaling, Commitment, and Negotiation in International Politics. In Strategic Choice and International Relations, edited by David A. Lake and Robert Powell, 77114. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Morrow, James D. 2000. Alliances: Why Write Them Down? American Review of Political Science 3:6383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Muller, Harald. 2004. Arguing, Bargaining and All That: Communicative Action, Rationalist Theory and the Logic of Appropriateness in International Relations. European Journal of International Relations 10 (3):395435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Niou, Emerson M. S., and Ordeshook, Peter C.. 1994. ‘Less Filling, Tastes Great’: The Realist-Neoliberal Debate. World Politics 46 (2):209234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Organski, Abramo F. 1968. World Politics, 2nd Edition. New York: Knopf.Google Scholar
Powell, Robert. 2006. War as a Commitment Problem. International Organization 60 (1):169203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Reed, William. 2003. Information, Power, and War. American Political Science Review 97 (4):633641.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rubinstein, Ariel. 1998. Modeling Bounded Rationality, Vol. 1. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
Schelling, Thomas. 1960. The Strategy of Conflict. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Schelling, Thomas. 1966. Arms and Influence. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Schultz, Kenneth. 1998. Domestic Opposition and Signaling in International Crises. American Political Science Review 92 (4):829844.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schultz, Kenneth. 1999. Do Democratic Institutions Constrain or Inform? Contrasting Two Institutional Perspectives on Democracy and War. International Organization 53 (2):233266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Siegel, Eric. 1997. I Know that You Know, and You Know that I Know: An Information Theory of the Democratic Peace. Paper Presented at the 93rd Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Washington, DC, 28 August to 1 September.Google Scholar
Signorino, Curtis S. 2003. Structure and Uncertainty in Discrete Choice Models. Political Analysis 11:316344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Signorino, Curtis S., and Ritter, Jeffrey M.. 1999. Tau-b or Not Tau-b: Measuring the Similarity of Foreign Policy Positions. International Studies Quarterly 43 (1):115144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Simon, Herbert. 1976. Administrative Behaviour. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
Simon, Herbert. 1983. Reason in Human Affairs. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
Simmons, Beth. 2009. Mobilizing for Human Rights: International Law in Domestic Politics. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Singer, David, Bremer, Stuart, and Stuckey, John. 1972. Capability Distribution, Uncertainty, and Major Power War 1820–1965. In Peace, War and Numbers , edited by Bruce Russett, 1948. Beverly Hills: Sage.Google Scholar
Singer, J. David, and Small, Melvin. 1966. National Alliance Commitments and War Involvement, 1815–1945. Journal of Peace Research 5:109140.Google Scholar
Singer, J. David, and Small, Melvin. 1968. Alliance Aggregation and the Onset of War, 1815–1945. Pp. 247–86. in International Politics: Insights and Evidence, edited by J. David Singer. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
Siverson, Randolph M., and Starr, Harvey. 1991. The Diffusion of War. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Smith, Alastair. 1995. Alliance Formation and War. International Studies Quarterly 39:405425.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Smith, Alastair. 1998. Extended Deterrence and Alliance Formation. International Interactions 24 (4):315343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Snyder, Glenn H. 1997. Alliance Politics. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
Stinnett, Douglas M., Tir, Jaroslav, Schafer, Philip, Diehl, Paul F., and Gochman, Charles. 2002. The Correlates of War Project Direct Contiguity Data, Version 3. Conflict Management and Peace Science 19 (2):5866.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Szmer, John, and Songer, Donald R.. 2005. The Effects of Information on the Accuracy of Presidential Assessments of Supreme Court Nominee Preferences. Political Research Quarterly 58 (1):151160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tammen, Ronald, Kugler, Jacek, Lemke, Douglas, Alsharabati, Carole, Efird, Brian, and Organski, Abramo. F. K.. 2000. Power Transitions: Strategies for the Twenty-First Century. New York: Chatham House.Google Scholar
Tarar, Ahmer. 2001. International Bargaining with Two-Sided Domestic Constraints. Journal of Conflict Resolution 45 (3):320340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Waltz, Kenneth N. 1979. Theory of International Politics. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
Wayman, Frank Whelon. 1984. Bipolarity and War: The Role of Capability Concentration and Alliance Patterns Among Major Powers, 1816–1965. Journal of Peace Research 21 (1):6178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Weede, Erich. 1976. Overwhelming Preponderance as a Pacifying Condition Among Contiguous Asian Dyads, 1950–1969. Journal of Conflict Resolution 20 (3):395411.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Weeks, Jessica L. 2008. Autocratic Audience Costs: Regime Type and Signaling Resolve. International Organization 62 (1):3564.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Supplementary material: PDF

Conrad supplementary material

Appendix

Download Conrad supplementary material(PDF)
PDF 42 KB
1
Cited by

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

How Democratic Alliances Solve the Power Parity Problem
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

How Democratic Alliances Solve the Power Parity Problem
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

How Democratic Alliances Solve the Power Parity Problem
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *