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Alternative Collective-Goods Models of Military Alliances: Theory and Empirics

  • Conybeare, John A C
  • Murdoch, James C
  • Sandler, Todd

How should the defense activities of allies be aggregated to determine the alliance-wide level of defense? Two alternative models--best shot and weakest link--are contrasted with simple summation of defense spending or manpower for aggregating allies' defense efforts. The authors extend the joint product model to include these methods of aggregation and devise an empirical procedure to test between best-shot and weakest-link models. They apply this test to four alliances: Triple Alliance (1880-1914), Triple Entente (1880-1914), Warsaw Pact (1963-87), and NATO (1961-87). The testing procedure can be applied to other collective choice situations. Copyright 1994 by Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Western Economic Association International in its journal Economic Inquiry.

Volume (Year): 32 (1994)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 525-42

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Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:32:y:1994:i:4:p:525-42
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  1. McGuire, Martin C & Groth, Carl H, Jr, 1985. "A Method for Identifying the Public Good Allocation Process within a Group," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(5), pages 915-34, Supp..
  2. Glenn W. Harrison & Jack Hirshleifer, 1988. "An Experimental Evaluation of Weakest-Link/Best Shot Models of Public Goods," UCLA Economics Working Papers 473, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. Beach, Charles M & MacKinnon, James G, 1978. "A Maximum Likelihood Procedure for Regression with Autocorrelated Errors," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 51-58, January.
  4. Crafts, N. F. R., 1983. "Gross national product in Europe 1870-1910: Some new estimates," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 387-401, October.
  5. Sandler, Todd & Forbes, John F, 1980. "Burden Sharing, Strategy, and the Design of NATO," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(3), pages 425-44, July.
  6. Leonard Dudley & Claude Montmarquette, 1981. "The demand for military expenditures: An international comparison," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 5-31, January.
  7. Okamura, Minoru, 1991. "Estimating the Impact of the Soviet Union's Threat on the United States-Japan Alliance: A Demand System Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(2), pages 200-207, May.
  8. Bliss, Christopher & Nalebuff, Barry, 1984. "Dragon-slaying and ballroom dancing: The private supply of a public good," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1-2), pages 1-12, November.
  9. Wong, K-Y., 1988. "Foreign Trade, Military Alliance, And Defence-Burden Sharing," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 88-11, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  10. Jack Hirshleifer, 1983. "From weakest-link to best-shot: The voluntary provision of public goods," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 371-386, January.
  11. Cornes, Richard, 1993. "Dyke Maintenance and Other Stories: Some Neglected Types of Public Goods," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(1), pages 259-71, February.
  12. Sandler, Todd & Murdoch, James C, 1990. "Nash-Cournot or Lindahl Behavior? An Empirical Test for the NATO Allies," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(4), pages 875-94, November.
  13. Murdoch, James C & Sandler, Todd & Hansen, Laurna, 1991. "An Econometric Technique for Comparing Median Voter and Oligarchy Choice Models of Collective Action: The Case of the NATO Alliance," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(4), pages 624-31, November.
  14. Sandler, Todd, 1977. "Impurity of Defense: An Application to the Economics of Alliances," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(3), pages 443-60.
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