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Networks of Military Alliances, Wars, and International Trade


  • Matthew O. Jackson
  • Stephen M. Nei


We investigate the role of networks of alliances in preventing (multilateral) interstate wars. We first show that, in the absence of international trade, no network of alliances is peaceful and stable. We then show that international trade induces peaceful and stable networks: trade increases the density of alliances so that countries are less vulnerable to attack and also reduces countries' incentives to attack an ally. We present historical data on wars and trade, noting that the dramatic drop in interstate wars since 1950, and accompanying densification and stabilization of alliances, are consistent with the model but not other prominent theories.

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  • Matthew O. Jackson & Stephen M. Nei, 2014. "Networks of Military Alliances, Wars, and International Trade," Papers 1405.6400,, revised Jun 2015.
  • Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:1405.6400

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Matthew O. Jackson & Brian W. Rogers & Yves Zenou, 2017. "The Economic Consequences of Social-Network Structure," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 55(1), pages 49-95, March.
    2. Frank Emmert-Streib & Aliyu Musa & Kestutis Baltakys & Juho Kanniainen & Shailesh Tripathi & Olli Yli-Harja & Herbert Jodlbauer & Matthias Dehmer, 2017. "Computational Analysis of the structural properties of Economic and Financial Networks," Papers 1710.04455,
    3. Marcin Dziubinski & Sanjeev Goyal & Adrien Vigier, 2015. "Conflict and Networks," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1565, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    4. Hiller, Timo, 2017. "Friends and enemies: a model of signed network formation," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 12(3), September.
    5. Barry Eichengreen & Arnaud J. Mehl & Livia Chitu, 2017. "Mars or Mercury? The Geopolitics of International Currency Choice," NBER Working Papers 24145, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation
    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General

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