The Effects of Strategic and Economic Interdependence on International Conflict Across Levels of Analysis


  • An earlier version of this study was presented at the 2006 annual meeting of the Peace Science Society, Columbus, Ohio, October 2006. I thank Katherine Barbieri, John Oneal, Bruce Russett, Scott Gartner, Randy Siverson, the graduate students in my 2007 Social Networks seminar, and the reviewers for AJPS for useful comments. Thanks to Rob Feenstra for making his data available and for helping explain the complexities of commodity trade. Aimee Tannenhill, my research assistant, has done a wonderful job managing the commodity trade dataset. All remaining errors are mine alone.

Zeev Maoz is professor of political science, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616 ( Professor Maoz is also Distinguished Fellow, Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, Israel.


This study develops a Social Network Analytic approach to conceptualize and measure interdependence across levels of analysis. This framework contains several innovations. First, it integrates “sensitivity interdependence”—the effects of changes in one state on other states—with “vulnerability interdependence”—the opportunity costs of breaking a relationship. Second, it measures interdependence at different levels of analysis and across multiple relationships. Third, it integrates multiple dimensions of interdependence into a single measure. I derive hypotheses from the realist and liberal paradigms regarding the effects of strategic and economic interdependence on monadic, dyadic, and systemic conflict. These hypotheses are tested via data on alliances, military capability, and trade. The findings provide robust support to the expectations of the liberal paradigm regarding the effects of strategic and economic interdependence on conflict. On the other hand, the expectations of the realist paradigm are not supported. I discuss the theoretical and empirical implications of this approach.