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Alliances in Anarchic International Systems

Niou, Emerson M. S. and Ordeshook, Peter C. (1991) Alliances in Anarchic International Systems. Social Science Working Paper, 761. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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Alliances play a central role in international relations theory. However, aside from applications of traditional cooperative game theory that ignore the issue of enforcement in anarchic systems, or interpretations of the repeated Prisoners' Dilemma in the attempt to understand the source of cooperation in such systems, we have little theory on which to base predictions about alliance formation. This essay, then, builds on an n-country, non-cooperative, game-theoretic model of conflict in anarchic systems in order to furnish a theoretical basis for such predictions. Defining an alliance as a collection of countries that jointly abide by "collective security strategies" with respect to each other but not with respect to members outside of the alliance, we establish the necessary and sufficient conditions for an alliance system to be stable. In addition, we show that not all winning or minimal winning coalitions can form alliances, that alliances among smaller states can be stable, that bipolar alliance structures do not exhaust the set of stable structures, and that only specific countries can play the role of balancer.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Additional Information:This research was supported by the NSF Grant SES-8822308 to Duke University and the NSF Grant SES-8922262 to the California Institute of Technology. Published as Niou, Emerson MS, and Peter C. Ordeshook. "Alliances in anarchic international systems." International Studies Quarterly 38, no. 2 (1994): 167-191.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:International alliances, Alliances, Military alliances, International cooperation, Game theory, Countries, Unilateralism, Balance of power, Security systems, Self interest
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:761
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170831-134520974
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:81028
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:31 Aug 2017 20:58
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:37

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