FEEM working papers "Note di lavoro" series
2014 .046

Networks of Military Alliances, Wars, and International Trade


Authors: Matthew O. Jackson, Stephen Nei
Series: Climate Change and Sustainable Development
Editor: Giuseppe Sammarco
Keywords: Alliances, Conflict, War, Networks, International Trade, Treaties
JEL n.: D74, D85, F10

Abstract

We investigate the role of networks of military alliances in preventing or encouraging wars between groups of countries. A country is vulnerable to attack if some allied group of countries can defeat the defending country and its (remaining) allies based on their collective military strengths. We show that there do not exist any networks which contain no vulnerable countries and that are stable against the pairwise addition of a new alliance as well as against the unilateral deletion of any existing alliance. We then show that economic benefits from international trade provide incentives to form alliances in ways that restore stability and prevent wars, both by increasing the density of alliances so that countries are less vulnerable and by removing the incentives of countries to attack their allies. In closing, we examine historical data on interstate wars and trade, noting that a dramatic (more than ten-fold) drop in the rate of interstate wars since 1950 is paralleled by the advent of nuclear weapons and an unprecedented growth in trade over the same period, matched with a similar densification and stabilization of alliances, consistent with the model.

***

Suggested citation: Jackson, M. O., S. Nei, (2014), 'Networks of Military Alliances, Wars, and International Trade', Nota di Lavoro 46.2014, Milan, Italy: Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.

Download file
Download PDF file

FEEM Newsletter

Subscribe to stay connected.

Your personal data will be processed by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei. – data Controller – with the aim of emailing the FEEM newsletter. The use of Your email address is necessary for the implementation of the newsletter service. You are invited to read the Privacy Policy in order to obtain additional information about the protection of Your rights.

This Website uses technical cookies and cookie analytics, as well as “third party” profiling cookies.
If you close this banner or you decide to continue navigating on this Website, you express consent to the use of cookies. If you need additional information or you wish to express selective choices on the use of cookies, please refer to the   Cookie PolicyI agree