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Why Buy American? The International Politics of Fighter Jet Transfers

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 December 2014

Srdjan Vucetic*
University of Ottawa
Atsushi Tago*
Kobe University
Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada, Email:
Graduate School of Law, Kobe University, 2-1 Rokkodai-cho, Nada-ku, Kobe, Hyogo, 657-8501, Japan, Email:


When it comes to buying military aircraft, what leads states to prefer one supplier over the other? This paper explores this question from the perspective of international relations theory. First we use social network analysis to map out fighter jet transfers during and after the Cold War and examine the extent to which historical structures of international hierarchy shape contemporary supplier-receiver relationships. Next, we use a basic probit model to analyse the origins of fighter jets in the world's air forces today to evaluate the effect of interstate orders of super-ordination and sub-ordination on sourcing patterns. All things being equal, the more a state is embedded in US security and economic hierarchy, the more it is likely to buy American-made fighter jets.


Lorsqu'il s'agit de l'achat d'avions militaires, qu'est-ce qui conduit les États à préférer un fournisseur plutôt qu'un autre ? Cet article explore cette question du point de vue de la théorie des relations internationales. D'abord, nous utilisons l'analyse des réseaux sociaux pour recenser les transferts d'avions de chasse pendant et après la guerre froide et examiner dans quelle mesure les structures historiques de la hiérarchie internationale forment les relations fournisseur-récepteur contemporaines. Ensuite, nous utilisons un modèle probit pour analyser les origines des avions de chasse dans les forces aériennes mondiales d'aujourd'hui et pour ainsi évaluer l'effet des relations interétatiques de prépondérance et de subordination sur les structures d'approvisionnement. Toutes choses étant égales, plus un État est impliqué dans les structures économiques et sécuritaires américaines, plus il est susceptible d'acheter des avions de combat de fabrication américaine.

Research Article
Copyright © Canadian Political Science Association (l'Association canadienne de science politique) and/et la Société québécoise de science politique 2014 

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