Date of Degree
PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Sara McLaughlin Mitchell
Cameron G. Thies
First Committee Member
Frederick J Boehmke
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
Hierarchical or asymmetrical power relationships among states have long been a focus of scholarly attention (e.g., asymmetrical alliances, trade dependencies). While the "power to hurt" is one expression of power, an alternative approach is to gain and exercise authority, or "rightful rule." One of the major impediments to the study of social concepts such as authority or legitimacy, however, is in their informal or intangible nature. This dissertation uses game theoretic and latent variable approaches to capture informal, social authority relationships, or social hierarchies, among international states and explores the effects of these hierarchies on security and economic behavior.
I posit that states adopt one of two social roles--that of a dominant or a subordinate. Each subordinate chooses a degree of autonomy that it is willing to cede to the dominant in exchange for a corresponding degree of protection. Ranging from complete autonomy to complete control, these dyadic bargains make up a social international hierarchy. This hierarchy affects the relationships between each subordinate and the dominant, as well as the relationships among subordinates.
In the security realm, the probability of conflict initiation is inversely related to the degree of subordination. When conflict does occur, dominants are more likely to intervene when the target is located at a higher position in the dominant's social hierarchy than the aggressor state. Economically, the probability that a state enacts illiberal policies is inversely related to its degree of subordination. Moreover, more subordinated states face a lower risk of economic sanction than states located lower in the hierarchy, even for similar illiberal actions. Empirical analysis of states within the US hierarchy (1950-2000) and UK hierarchy (1870-1913) using strategic probit models supports these theoretical predictions.
Censored Strategic Probit, Economic Sanctions, International Conflict, Quantal Response Equalibria, Social Hierarchy, Strategic Interaction
xi, 235 pages
Includes bibliographical references (pages 201-235).
Copyright 2013 Mark David Nieman
Nieman, Mark David. "The return on social bonds: the effect of social contracts on international conflict and economics." PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) thesis, University of Iowa, 2013.