Polycentric Defense, Ukraine Style: Explaining Ukrainian Resilience Against Invasion

39 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2023 Last revised: 14 Apr 2023

See all articles by Yahya Alshamy

Yahya Alshamy

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Christopher J. Coyne

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Nathan P. Goodman

George Mason University - Mercatus Center

Garrett Wood

Virginia Wesleyan University

Date Written: January 17, 2023

Abstract

Contrary to predictions by many experts, Ukraine’s military has been resilient in the face of the Russian government’s invasion. Drawing on the logic of polycentric defense, this paper helps explain how Ukraine has remained resistant against a conventionally more powerful adversary. We argue that polycentric defense in Ukraine has four benefits that aid counteroffensive efforts against invasion. First, polycentric defense facilitates the use of local and context-specific knowledge. Second, it permits competition, experimentation, and flexibility. Third, it reduces single-point failure vulnerabilities. Fourth, it encourages a wide variety of individuals to join the armed forces and contribute to the war effort. We present evidence of the benefits of polycentric defense in the context of the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Keywords: Defense, Polycentricity, Russia, Ukraine, Russia-Ukraine war

JEL Classification: N44, F51, D74

Suggested Citation

Alshamy, Yahya and Coyne, Christopher J. and Goodman, Nathan and Wood, Garrett, Polycentric Defense, Ukraine Style: Explaining Ukrainian Resilience Against Invasion (January 17, 2023). GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 23-03, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4326259 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4326259

Yahya Alshamy

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Christopher J. Coyne (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.ccoyne.com/

Nathan Goodman

George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

3434 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

Garrett Wood

Virginia Wesleyan University ( email )

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