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Conflict and Stability in Anarchic International Systems

Niou, Emerson M. S. and Ordeshook, Peter C. (1989) Conflict and Stability in Anarchic International Systems. Social Science Working Paper, 700. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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A considerable part of theory in international relations concerns the issue of whether cooperation and stability can emerge from the competition and self-interest of sovereign powers existing in a state of anarchy. Does anarchy, if ever, imply stability in the form of a balance-of-power, or does stability require restraints which arise from the complex nexus of interdependencies characterizing the contemporary world economy and its associated institutions? The analysis in this essay supposes that nation-states are each endowed with some infinitely divisible resource, which those states maximize and which also measures their ability to overcome adversaries in the event of conflict. In this context we reexamine and reformulate the realist view, by offering a noncooperative, extensive-form model of international conflict without exogenous mechanisms for the enforcement of agreements in order to uncover the conditions under which a balance-of-power as construed by our model ensures the sovereignty of all states in anarchic systems. Our primary conclusion is simple: there exists at least one world, albeit abstract and reminiscent of the frictionless planes with which we introduce the perspectives of physics, in which a balance-of-power ensures sovereignty.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Alternate Title:Stability in Anarchic International Systems
Additional Information:This research was partially supported by NSF grant #SES-8822308. We have benefited greatly from initial suggestions on how to proceed from Tom Schwartz and Eric Rasmusen and from a continuing dialogue with R. Harrison Wagner. Published as Emerson M. S. Niou and Peter C. Ordeshook. The American Political Science Review. Vol. 84, No. 4 (Dec., 1990), pp. 1207-1234
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:Balance of power, Anarchy, Countries, Systems stability, Game theory, Sovereignty, War, Lotteries, Natural resources
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:700
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170905-133457593
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:81143
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:05 Sep 2017 22:46
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:39

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