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Hierarchy Amidst Anarchy: A Transaction Costs Approach to International Security Cooperation

Hierarchy Amidst Anarchy: A Transaction Costs Approach to International Security Cooperation This article provides an interest-based explanation for hierarchy in international politics. The study suggests that—even in a self-help system—self–interested actors voluntarily curtail their sovereignty to obtain needed assurances, yet that these actors have a choice among cooperative security arrangements with different degrees of “bindingness.” The key to understanding countries' international institutional choices is in focusing on economic theories of organization and, more specifically, transaction costs.The study begins with the conceptualization of a continuum of cooperative security arrangements with different degrees of bindingness. It then examines different bodies of literature—the traditional realist model and economies–of–scale arguments—and claims that both fail to account for hierarchical security structures in the international system. Recognizing that economists explain hierarchy amidst market anarchy by examining transaction costs, the study makes use of this insight by developing an analogous argument for hierarchy in international politics. Finally, to test the propositions advanced in this article, a brief case study examines plans for the creation of a European Defense Community. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Studies Quarterly Oxford University Press

Hierarchy Amidst Anarchy: A Transaction Costs Approach to International Security Cooperation

International Studies Quarterly , Volume 41 (2) – Jun 17, 1997

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References (39)

Publisher
Oxford University Press
Copyright
© 1997 International Studies Association.
ISSN
0020-8833
eISSN
1468-2478
DOI
10.1111/1468-2478.00044
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article provides an interest-based explanation for hierarchy in international politics. The study suggests that—even in a self-help system—self–interested actors voluntarily curtail their sovereignty to obtain needed assurances, yet that these actors have a choice among cooperative security arrangements with different degrees of “bindingness.” The key to understanding countries' international institutional choices is in focusing on economic theories of organization and, more specifically, transaction costs.The study begins with the conceptualization of a continuum of cooperative security arrangements with different degrees of bindingness. It then examines different bodies of literature—the traditional realist model and economies–of–scale arguments—and claims that both fail to account for hierarchical security structures in the international system. Recognizing that economists explain hierarchy amidst market anarchy by examining transaction costs, the study makes use of this insight by developing an analogous argument for hierarchy in international politics. Finally, to test the propositions advanced in this article, a brief case study examines plans for the creation of a European Defense Community.

Journal

International Studies QuarterlyOxford University Press

Published: Jun 17, 1997

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