Domestic Signaling of Commitment Credibility: Military Recruitment and Alliance Formation

46 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2014

See all articles by Michael C. Horowitz

Michael C. Horowitz

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Political Science

Paul Poast

University of Chicago - Department of Political Science

Allan C. Stam

University of Virginia

Date Written: July 18, 2014

Abstract

We provide a new perspective on how domestic factors shape the prospects for international cooperation. Internal arms, specifically conscription, signals a willingness and suitability to be a dependable ally. Possessing ineffective military forces inhibits a state's ability to assist prospective allies and renders a state less able to deter threats on its own. This exemplifies an instance where the tradeoff between arms and allies does not apply. Using new data on the military recruitment policies of states since 1816, we find that a adopting a conscription-based recruitment system in the previous 5 years makes a state more likely to form an alliance in the current year, even when accounting for a heightened threat environment. However, as the perception of conscription as the most effective way to generate military power faded when the United States switched to an all-volunteer military in the early 1970s, the effect faded as well.

Keywords: alliances, conscription, commitment credibility, international cooperation

Suggested Citation

Horowitz, Michael C. and Poast, Paul and Stam, Allan C., Domestic Signaling of Commitment Credibility: Military Recruitment and Alliance Formation (July 18, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2468006 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2468006

Michael C. Horowitz

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Political Science ( email )

Stiteler Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Paul Poast (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Department of Political Science ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Allan C. Stam

University of Virginia ( email )

235 McCormick Rd.
P.O. Box 400893
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4893
United States

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