Writing Armageddon

Writing Armageddon
Furious writing or writing furiously?

Monday, January 16, 2017

Contributor Publication: K.Travlos "From Universalism to Managerial Coordination: Major Power Regulation of the Use of Force"

My newest publication “From Universalism to Managerial Coordination: Major Power Regulation of the Use of Force” has been published in Volume 17, Issue 2 of  the Asian International Studies Review.

This is an important point in my oldest research project, the study of interstate regulatory regimes in the international system. In my dissertation I began by exploring the consequences of what I termed major power managerial coordination. The idea from this study came from my exposure to the work of Paul Schroeder on the transformation of European politics, that of Peter Wallensteen on universalism and particularism , and the Steps to War theoretical framework.  

 Essentially, while I liked the dyadic focus on Steps to War, I felt that the normative international environment within which the Steps happen was in itself an important Step to War, one that was not captured by extant measures, and thus missing from our exploration of conflict using quantitative, or mixed methods. My goal was thus to develop a new quantitative measure of the quality of major power coordination with the goal of regulating the use of international force. In simpler terms, how much the major powers try to work together to make war less likely in the international system. In explaining why major powers would engage in managerial coordination, I relied a lot on a simplified version of the Logicof Political Survival.

With the passage of time, and with a lot of support by people like Paul F.Diehl, John Vasquez, Paul Huth, and importantly Peter Wallensteen, the project morphed. From major power managerial coordination the concept was broadened to interstate managerial coordination. Instead of restricting this regime to one that can exist only between major powers, the concept could apply to any network of states.  More importantly the measurement instrument I had created to capture the variation in major power managerial coordination, initial termed Scale of Major Power Managerial Coordination Intensity, became a more sophisticated and leaner Interstate Managerial Coordination Scale (IMaC). The article in Asian Review of International Studies presents the process for building IMaC, presents the version relating to major powers in the 1715-2010 period, does a brief discussion of the theoretical explanation behind it, and its place in the literature on universalism and particularism. It also shows that we can gain explanatory power by using this new measurement instrument, by a replication of older findings by Wallensteen and Schahczenski.

So what is IMaC and why should you care?

IMaC is
      1)      A proxy for the intensity with which a network of states engages in three sets of behaviors that the theoretical explanation argues will decrease the likelihood of the use of force in interstate relations (including MIDs (militarized disputes), Crises, Wars, and interventions into intra-state conflicts, civil wars). The three behaviors are multilateralism, consultation, and avoidance of adversarial coordination. It is a systemic, not a structural variable.-In simple terms if a set of states engage in these three behaviors a lot, they will be less likely to use or permit the use of military force in the international system.

      2)      It is multi-level measurement instrument, and thus more sophisticated than previous attempts to capture the quality of interstate regulatory behavior (which usually was binary-it exists or not).-In simple terms, it captures more differences in the way states try to regulate the use of military force in the international system, than previous ways to do so.
      3)      A potential predictor for Quality Peace in interstate relations at the systemic level -In simple terms Interstate Managerial Coordination can foster stability, security, and dignity among states.

      4)      A potential predictor for positive movements of dyadic interstate relations along the Peace Scale .-In simple terms, states that are part of associated with a network of states engaged in interstate managerial coordination are more likely to resolve their differences and upgrade their relations from Rivalry to Negative Peace, and finally to Positive Peace.

      5)      A systemic element in the Steps to War Framework. High interstate managerial coordination should dampen the conflict fostering dynamics of the various steps. Low interstate managerial coordination should exacerbate them- In simple terms, the more groups of states are engaged in interstate managerial coordination, the less likely are they to experience war due to the presence of conflictual elements in their relations. The less they engage in interstate managerial coordination, the more likely they are to do so.

      6)      A replacement for the Wallensteen “Universalism-Particualrism” binary measurement instrument. IMaC captures the same dynamics, but with more ability to be replicated (people can check the results on their own much more easily), a larger temporal domain (covering more periods), and more reliability (the levels of IMaC measure what they say they measure).

      7)      It may be a proxy for satisfaction. I am exploring that theoretically, and hope to work on a paper in the Power Transition research project, evaluating that empirically. In another name, among groups of states engaged in managerial coordination, power transition is less likely to lead to war.

      What IMaC is not

      1)      An interval-ratio variable. While I am entertaining ideas in my head for turning the Categorical version of IMaC to a continuous one, for the time being I have not been able to have a breakthrough. It can be used as a “as-if” interval-ratio variable, but with all the risks inherent is such use.-In simple terms, IMaC is not a  1,2,3,4,5,6….999 variable, but a Lesser, Less, More, Most variable.
      2)      A proxy for peace.  While I am critical of the concept of inadvertent war, strongly subscribing to what I see as the Steps to War finding that war happens because decision makers wanted war to happen, I cannot completely rule out the likelihood of states engaging in managerial coordination failing to keep the peace between them. This becomes more likely when we are looking at networks of states, like major powers, whose attempts at interstate managerial coordination are expanded to regulating the behavior of states outside their immediate network.-In simple terms just because a group of states are engaged in interstate managerial coordination, that does not mean war is impossible among them.

      3)      A proxy for Positive Peace. Rivals worried about the consequences of war can also engage in managerial coordination as a way to control escalatory dynamics-In simple terms, even states that are adversaries might engage in some level of regulatory behavior, if they are worried about the consequences of war.

      4)      A proxy for regimes regulating other aspects of international relations than the use of force. IMaC might be connected to the regimes that regulate the international economic system, but it is not the same thing as that regime. – In simple terms just because states cooperate to avoid things getting out of hand where military force is concerned, this does not mean that they will also do so for other international issues, like economics, or climate.

      5)      A proxy for the distribution of systemic variables like regime type, or alliance preferences. These are other aspects of the international system, better captured by other measurement instruments. They might be predictors of managerial coordination or the reverse.

     Who should use it?

     Whether you are using qualitative or quantitative methods, if you believe systemic factors can influence the phenomenon you are trying to explain, IMaC might be useful for you. This is especially the case if you are worried for things like major power relations, or regional international dynamics.  You can use IMaC as a qualitative categorical characteristic of the wider system within which your phenomenon of interest takes place. Or you can use it as a quantitative measure to capture the influence of the international environment on what you are trying to explain. IMaC probably works best with explanations focused on conflict phenomena, but I leave it to the individual researcher if they think it might be useful for something else.

      If you are trying to explain the quality of international cooperation at the systemic level, consider IMaC as a proxy for it. You can use it in quantitative research designs as a predicted variable.  You can use it in qualitative designs are a case selection mechanism.
     What is next?

      I am currently working on a paper -workingtitled “A multi-method analysis of the causes of major power regulatory coordination”, in which I explore the causes of major power managerial coordination with a multi-method design. This includes a comparative case study of the decision makers at Utrecht in 1713 and Vienna in 1815. I will be presenting this at the 2017 Annual ISA convention at Baltimore, Maryland. My hope is to get it under review in 2017.

       You can find the data I used in the Asian International Studies Review article at http://ktravlospolisci.blogspot.com.tr/p/replication-data.html

      Finally keep an eye over the next few months on http://ktravlospolisci.blogspot.com.tr/p/research-i.html as I am going to revamp the page, and upload the IMaC data, and codebook, among major powers. 

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