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The Option Value of Membership in a Defense Alliance

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Membership in a defense alliance is viewed as an insurance option for a country subject to military threat. The focus is on the trade-off between domestically and internationally provided security as tax-financed public goods under heterogeneous risk classes of the members. A sufficient condition for a low-risk potential member to abstain from participation and a necessary condition for the participation of a high-risk potential member are stated. Disincentives for membership can include the cost of commitment in terms of the required production of the collective good, preemptive maneuvers, and ex post punishments of the enemy. The optimal tax is shown to be declining in the safety classification of a member subject to an adverse incentive effect of free riding. Solutions for the alliance size and the cost of membership are derived in the alliance equilibrium resorting to the fixed-point solution. With costly termination of membership, multiple equilibria can arise.
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Keywords: DEFENSE ALLIANCE; NATIONAL SECURITY; SAFETY CLASSIFICATION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 December 2017

This article was made available online on 29 September 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "The Option Value of Membership in a Defense Alliance".

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  • As one of the world's oldest professional journals in public finance, founded in 1884, FinanzArchiv (FA) publishes original work from all fields of public economics which are of interest to an international readership, e.g. taxation, public debt, public goods, public choice, federalism, market failure, social policy, and the welfare state. Special emphasis is on high-quality theoretical and empirical papers on current policy issues.

    FA is a peer-reviewed journal commited to a prompt turnaround of submissions.

    FA is listed in the Social Science Citation Index (SSCI), in Current Contents/Social and Behavioral Sciences, in Econ Lit, in the Journal of Economic Literature, in IDEAS and RePEc and in the International Bibliography of the Social Sciences.

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