Burden Sharing Among America and its Allies: Tests of Collective Choice and Their Implications

Western Political Quarterly, Vol. 43, No. 3, pp. 457-477, 1990

19 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2008

See all articles by Fred Thompson

Fred Thompson

Willamette University - Atkinson Graduate School of Management

Abstract

The quantitative analysis presented in this article suggests that reductions in American contributions to the defense of its allies will if necessary cause them to increase their efforts to defend themselves. This analysis should, therefore, help to allay fears that reductions in the U.S. contribution to the defense of its allies would reduce the capacity of the Western Alliance to meet direct military threats to its Western Europe and Japan. Reductions in U.S. contribution to the defense of Western Europe and Japan would, therefore, permit reductions in U.S. defense spending and/or its reallocation to increase America's military capability to respond to new threats elsewhere. It must be understood, however, that shifting the burden of defense to America's allies involves more than mere cost savings. Significant burden shifting, including the redeployment of America's forces elsewhere, will necessarily involve substantial changes in the alliance authority structure. The United States cannot make such a shift and expect to continue to dominate its relationships with its Western European and Japanese allies as it has in the past.

Keywords: production functions, club goods, alliances, free riders

JEL Classification: D71, D81, H41, H56

Suggested Citation

Thompson, Fred, Burden Sharing Among America and its Allies: Tests of Collective Choice and Their Implications. Western Political Quarterly, Vol. 43, No. 3, pp. 457-477, 1990. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1123756

Fred Thompson (Contact Author)

Willamette University - Atkinson Graduate School of Management ( email )

900 State Street
Salem, OR 97301
United States
503-370-6228 (Phone)
503-370-3011 (Fax)

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