States form military alliances for the security benefits they provide. Despite this common purpose of military alliances, alliances vary a great deal in their design. Notably, some states form alliances that involve extensive peacetime military coordination while others form alliances with minimal peacetime military coordination. I argue that this variation in alliance design is motivated by the bargaining power of any challengers the members face. When a state faces a relatively weak challenger it will not have an incentive to pay the greater cost associated with a high level of peacetime coordination because a low level of peacetime military coordination will deter the challenger. However, if a state faces a relatively strong challenger a low level of peacetime military coordination will fail to deter the challenger and, thus, it will be willing to pay the additional costs associated with a high level of peacetime military coordination. An empirical analysis of the design of alliances from 1816 to 2001 supports hypotheses derived from the argument. The findings highlight how the design of alliances is driven, in part, by the characteristics of nonmembers.
|Number of pages||26|
|State||Published - 2022|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Previous versions of this paper were presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Studies Association (ISA), Baltimore, MD, February 23, 2017, and the ISA-South regional meeting, Orlando, FL, October 21, 2017. I thank Tiffany Barnes, Daina Chiba, Ashley Leeds, Michaela Mattes, Toby Rider, and two reviewers for very helpful comments on this research.
© 2021 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Political Science and International Relations