Working papers

“Arms, Alliances, and Everything Else: Variation in Military Commitments.”

Why does a relevant third party to a dispute engage in diverse forms of military cooperation to improve another state’s security? How, and under what conditions, do national leaders strategically design and implement military commitments, and what effect does the choice of commitment strategy have on crisis bargaining behavior? A third party to a dispute often has incentives to shift the balance of power between disputants by committing to militarily support its preferred side. While research on third-party involvement in interstate conflict is dominated by studies on alliances, military commitments vary significantly in function, form, and strategic effect that go well beyond the obligations and provisions laid out in treaties. Unlike existing models of extended deterrence, the model presented does not rely on costly signaling nor strategic ambiguity under asymmetric information. The theory provides a new way of thinking about third-party involvement in international disputes that accounts for the strategic variation in military commitments and has important implications for the design of military cooperation, the deterrence-restraint dilemma, and third-party intervention in conflicts.

“Going Beyond Alliances: Measuring Military Commitment as a Latent Variable.”

Given the static nature of alliances, why does military cooperation vary significantly across states and over time? Often, a relevant third party has incentives to influence the outcomes of international disputes by committing to militarily support its preferred side. Most studies of third-party military commitments measure them by the obligations and provisions laid out in alliance treaties between states. Yet a static measure of alliances only provides a snapshot of military commitments made at the time of signing and does not account for variation between states and over time. Using an original cross-national, time-series dataset on US military cooperation, this paper employs mixed data Bayesian factor analysis to measure military commitment as a latent variable. The measurement model provides a way for scholars to make meaningful comparisons of underlying third-party military commitment in a principled way, including varying commitments between members of the same alliance, commitments to states in different regions, commitments to allies vs. non-allies, and commitments over time. This study contributes to measuring latent external military support and its effect on conflict.

“Sanctions as Instruments of Regime Change.” (with Andrew Coe)

A common view of sanctions sees them as instruments for coercing policy change in targeted countries. We develop an alternative theory in which sanctions are instead intended to encourage regime change in the targeted country, via a formal model of bargaining among the sanctioning state, the targeted regime, and the latter’s domestic opposition. By rendering the status quo in the targeted country costly, sanctions incite the domestic opposition to attempt to overthrow the targeted government. This theory has implications that are quite different from the prevailing view but also consistent with many cases of sanctions. Sanctions are sometimes imposed knowing that the targeted regime will not concede to the sanctioning state’s demands. They may unpredictably strengthen or weaken the targeted regime, depending on the outcome of domestic conflict in the targeted state. These implications are tested on the cases of US sanctions on Chile in 1970-73, South Africa in 1985-91, and Iraq in 1991–2003.

“The Puzzling Absence of Religious Politics in Korea: Inclusive and syncretic East Asian religious traditions” (with David Kang)