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How International Reputation Matters: From the CIS Seminar Series

Linking Alliance Violations to the Formation and Design of Future Alliance Contracts

NEIL NARANG, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara, investigates the role of international reputation in alliance politics by developing a signaling theory linking past alliance violations with the formation and design of future alliance commitments.

Benjamin Graham, Assistant Professof of International Relations, will be serving as discussant for this talk. 

In this paper Narang and his colleagues investigate the role of international reputation in alliance politics by developing a signaling theory linking past alliance violations with the formation and design of future alliance commitments. In their theory, past violations are useful signals of future alliance reliability conditional on whether they effectively separate reliable from unreliable alliance partners.  It follows that states evaluating potential alliance partners will interpret past violations in their context when deciding to enter a new alliance, attaching less weight to violations in “harder times”, when many states are defaulting on their alliance commitments, and more weight to violations in “easier-times”, when fewer states are defaulting on their alliances. They test the empirical implications of our model using bilateral alliance data from 1919-1989.  Consistent with their theory, states are significantly more likely to form new alliances and offer better terms to states that violated in harder-times than states that violated in easier-times.

About Neil Narang:

Neil Narang is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara. From 2011-2012 he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Christopher H. Browne Center for International Politics at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his PhD in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego in 2011 and earned his BA in Molecular Cell Biology and Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley in 2004.

His research interests include international relations, international security, civil war and post-conflict reconstruction. He is currently working on two ongoing research projects related to international politics. The first project follows from his dissertation research, which examines the causes and consequences of humanitarian assistance as a peacebuilding strategy in conflict and post-conflict states. The second project explores how international reputation matters in alliance politics.

More info: http://polisci2.ucsd.edu/nnarang/