Hierarchy and the provision of order in international politics
The anarchic international system is actually heavily structured: Communities of states join together for common benefit; strong states form hierarchical relationships with weak states to enforce order and achieve preferred outcomes. Breaking from prior research, we conceptualize structures such as community and hierarchy as properties of networks of states’ interactions that can capture unobserved constraints in state behavior, constraints that may reduce conflict. We offer two claims. One, common membership in trade communities pacifies to the extent that breaking trade ties would entail high switching costs: Thus, we expect heavy arms trade, more than most types of commercial trade, to reduce intracommunity conflict. Two, this is driven by hierarchical communities in which strong states can use high switching costs as leverage to constrain conflict between weaker states in the community. We find empirical support for these claims using a timedependent multilayer network model and a new measure of hierarchy based on network centrality.
Beardsley, K; Liu, H; Mucha, PJ; Siegel, DA; Tellez, JF
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