Complex Dependencies in the Alliance Network

Skyler J. Cranmer, Bruce A. Desmarais, Elizabeth J. Menninga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


The multifaceted and strategic interactions inherent in the formation of international military pacts render the alliance decisions of states highly interdependent. Our aim here is to model the network of alliances in such a way as to capture the effects of covariates and account for the complex dependencies inherent in the network. Regression analysis, due to its foundational assumption of conditional independence, cannot be used to analyze alliance decisions specifically and interdependent decisions generally. We demonstrate how alliance decisions are interdependent and define the problems associated with the regression analysis of nonindependent dyads. We then show that alliances can naturally be conceived of as constituting a network, where alliance formation is an inherently interdependent process. We proceed by introducing the exponential random graph model for analyzing interdependence in the alliance network and estimating the effect of covariates on alliances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-313
Number of pages35
JournalConflict Management and Peace Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Political Science and International Relations


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