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The Conflict Management Efforts of Allies in Interstate Disputes


  • An earlier version of this manuscript was presented at the 2009 Annual Meeting of the Peace Science Society International, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. We thank John Vasquez, Paul Diehl, Sara Mitchell, conference participants, various anonymous reviewers, and the editors for feedback on earlier versions of this manuscript.


Motivations for conflict management are rarely discussed in terms of commitments that potential third-parties have toward one or both disputants. The current study addresses this lacuna by examining how alliance designs affect conflict management behavior. Specifically, we argue that third-party states' willingness to manage interstate conflicts depends on both the existence and depth of an alliance relationship. We test this argument using data on conflict management within militarized interstate disputes during the period 1946–2000. We find that allies are more likely than non-allies to manage their partner's disputes. Underneath this aggregate relationship, however, we also find that the depth of alliance commitments strongly influences this behavior. Deeper commitments – both across and within alliance types – increase the likelihood of conflict management significantly

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