DISSERTATION

"Planning for the Short Haul: The Formation of Wartime Commercial Policy"

In times of war, why do belligerents continue to trade with each other? In my dissertation, I develop a theory to explain the variation in state’s wartime commercial policies. I show that states set product level commercial policies to balance two potentially conflicting goals – maximizing state revenue from continued trade during the war and minimizing the ability of the opponent to benefit from security externalities of the trade. States are more likely to trade with the enemy in (1) products that their opponents take a long time to convert into military capability and (2) products that are essential to the domestic economy. The amount of time it takes the opponent to convert gains from trade into military capabilities determines which products are too dangerous to be traded during a war. The mitigating factor is the amount of revenue the state can extract from trade. The more essential the product is to the domestic economy, the less a state can afford to lose trade in it. The dissertation tests this theory using the comparative case study method, looking at the Crimean War (1854-6), World War I, World War II, India-Pakistan relationship from 1945 to 2000.


WORKING PAPERS

"Unconstrained Sovereignty: Delegation of Authority and Reversibility" (under review)

The concept of sovereignty shapes our understanding of the world. Yet our current understanding of sovereignty fails to explain when states pull out of supranational organizations, why shared sovereignty agreements frequently fail, or why young democracies have such a high recidivism rate. I argue that these analytical problems stem from a contradiction at the core of the existing definitions of sovereignty. They conflate delegation of authority with a loss of sovereignty. Delegation is relatively easy, cheap, and certain to reverse; it’s an affirmation of sovereignty. However, use of force is required to regain lost sovereignty. Conflating the two has tremendous consequences. In this paper, I propose a definition of sovereignty that draws a clear distinction between sovereignty and delegated authority. Adopting this definition allows the comparison of sovereignty across time and space, shows that institutions do not place permanent constraints on supreme authority, and shows the impossibility of popular sovereignty.


"Anarchic Bargain: Power Trajectories and the Logic of International Order"

In international hegemonic order, the assumption of a power trajectory for the leading state leads to certain incentives for this state and determines what type of order is created. Most hegemonic theories of order assume an eventual declining trajectory creating incentives to build a constructed, static order. However, a declining trajectory is not the only possible situation and, empirically, is not even the most likely situation. A more probable scenario is that states recognize that they cannot predict a power trajectory and focus on building a situational order which is considerably more flexible as it is based on short term bargains that can be renegotiated with a change in the strategic environment. The paper uses the post-Cold War period to analyze the differences between the two possible types of order, focusing specifically on instances of NATO expansion.

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