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Complex Dependencies in the Alliance Network


  • Skyler J. Cranmer

    (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

  • Bruce A. Desmarais

    (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

  • Elizabeth J. Menninga

    (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)


The multifaceted and strategic interactions inherent in the formation of international military pacts render the alliance decisions of states highly interdependent. Our aim here is to model the network of alliances in such a way as to capture the effects of covariates and account for the complex dependencies inherent in the network. Regression analysis, due to its foundational assumption of conditional independence, cannot be used to analyze alliance decisions specifically and interdependent decisions generally. We demonstrate how alliance decisions are interdependent and define the problems associated with the regression analysis of nonindependent dyads. We then show that alliances can naturally be conceived of as constituting a network, where alliance formation is an inherently interdependent process. We proceed by introducing the exponential random graph model for analyzing interdependence in the alliance network and estimating the effect of covariates on alliances.

Suggested Citation

  • Skyler J. Cranmer & Bruce A. Desmarais & Elizabeth J. Menninga, 2012. "Complex Dependencies in the Alliance Network," Conflict Management and Peace Science, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 29(3), pages 279-313, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:compsc:v:29:y:2012:i:3:p:279-313

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