Stability in Anarchic International Systems


Journal Article

Can stability emerge solely from the competition and self-interest of sovereign powers existing in a state of anarchy, or does stability depend on restraints from the complex nexus of interdependencies characterizing the contemporary world economy and its associated institutions? We suppose some infinitely divisible resource, that all nation-states are endowed with and maximize and that enables them to overcome adversaries in the event of conflict. We offer a noncooperative, extensive-form model of international conflict without exogenous mechanisms to enforce agreements in order to learn under what conditions balance of power and collective security ensure the sovereignty of all states in anarchic systems. We conclude that there exists at least one world—albeit an abstract one—in which anarchy yields stability. © 1990, American Political Science Association. All rights reserved.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Niou, EMS; Ordeshook, PC

Published Date

  • January 1, 1990

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 84 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 1207 - 1234

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1537-5943

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0003-0554

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.2307/1963260

Citation Source

  • Scopus