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Reliability, Reputation, and Alliance Formation


  • This research was supported by the National Science Foundation (SES-0450111 and SES-0729405). Data assembly was conducted with the help of EUGene 3.03 (Bennett and Stam 2000). The authors would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers, Navin Bapat, Skyler Cranmer, Stephen Gent, Brian Lai, Ashley Leeds, and Timothy Nordstrom for their helpful comments and for making data and replication files available. Data and replication files for the analysis in this article can be found at


Crescenzi, Mark J.C. et al. (2012) Reliability, Reputation, and Alliance Formation. International Studies Quarterly, doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2478.2011.00711.x
© 2012 International Studies Association

In this paper, we examine how the past alliance behavior of nations affects the likelihood that these states will be involved in alliance formation. We contend that nations evaluate the reputations of potential allies when searching for alliance partners. Reputation information is processed by governments along with other immediate concerns. By introducing a model and developing subsequent measures of reputational alliance histories, we improve upon our current understanding of the factors that drive alliance formation. Using alliance reputation data derived from the ATOP project (1816–2000), we find support for the hypothesis that a reputation for upholding one's agreements significantly improves the likelihood of membership in future alliances.