Transatlantic Shakedown: Does Presidential ‘Naming and Shaming’ Affect NATO Burden-Sharing?

35 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2019 Last revised: 30 Jan 2020

See all articles by Jordan Becker

Jordan Becker

King's College London; United States Military Academy, Department of Social Science; Vesalius College; Free University of Brussels (VUB)-Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Institute for European Studies, Students

Sarah E. Kreps

Cornell University

Paul Daniel Poast

Ohio State University (OSU) - Economics

Rochelle Terman

University of California, Berkeley

Date Written: May 1, 2019

Abstract

Does “naming and shaming” of allies by US Presidents work? More precisely, does publicly criticizing members’ financial commitments to NATO increase allies’ defense spending and improve burden-sharing, or is it counterproductive, leading to lower contributions? We argue that the answer is likely neither. At best, excessive public shaming of allies is mere “cheap talk.” At worst, it is counterproductive. To evaluate this claim, we conducted textual analysis on all executive declarations, remarks, written statements, and media related to NATO members’ defense spending, all drawn from the American Presidency Project. We find provisionally that the more negatively US presidents speak about transatlantic burden-sharing, the less allies spend on defense. This finding addresses a gap in the current literature by analyzing the effectiveness of public “shaming” of allies in an attempt to redress burden-sharing problems endemic to alliances. Such actions do not appear to be effective, and may even be counterproductive.

Keywords: NATO, burden-sharing, presidency, defense spending, discourse, content analysis, transatlantic security

JEL Classification: C12, C23, C29

Suggested Citation

Becker, Jordan and Kreps, Sarah E. and Poast, Paul Daniel and Terman, Rochelle, Transatlantic Shakedown: Does Presidential ‘Naming and Shaming’ Affect NATO Burden-Sharing? (May 1, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3493570 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3493570

Jordan Becker (Contact Author)

King's College London ( email )

King's College London Strand
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

United States Military Academy, Department of Social Science ( email )

600 Thayer Rd
West Point, NY 10996
United States

Vesalius College ( email )

Pleinlaan 2
Brussels, B-1050
Belgium

Free University of Brussels (VUB)-Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Institute for European Studies, Students ( email )

Ixelles
Belgium

Sarah E. Kreps

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Paul Daniel Poast

Ohio State University (OSU) - Economics ( email )

410 Arps Hall
1945 N. High St.
Columbus, OH 43210-1172
United States
614-292-8863 (Phone)
614-292-3906 (Fax)

Rochelle Terman

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

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