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Change and Stability in Superpower Rivalry

  • Michael D. McGinnis (a1) and John T. Williams (a2)

Abstract

We investigate the dynamics of superpower rivalry. Participants in policy debates within each state use information about expected future threats and economic costs to influence other policy actors, and this process of sophisticated reaction links the security policies of these two states into a single rivalry system. Analysis of vector autoregression models of U.S. and Soviet military expenditures and diplomatic hostility and U.S. gross national product supports the hypothesis that these policies approximate the behavior of unitary rational states capable of forming rational expectations of each other's future behavior. The dynamic response of this system to a wide range of exogenous shocks (or innovations) reveals the underlying stability of this rivalry system. The military expenditures of both states exhibit a cyclical response to innovations, with a shorter U.S. cycle. This lack of synchronization creates several problems for analysis and for policy change.

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Change and Stability in Superpower Rivalry

  • Michael D. McGinnis (a1) and John T. Williams (a2)

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