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Sharing the Burden of Collective Security in the European Union

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 October 2009

Han Dorussen
University of Essex, United Kingdom. E-mail:
Emil J. Kirchner
University of Essex, United Kingdom. E-mail:
James Sperling
University of Akron, OH. E-mail:
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This article compares European Union (EU) burden-sharing in security governance distinguishing between assurance, prevention, protection, and compellence policies. We employ joint-product models and examine the variation in the level of publicness, the asymmetry of the distribution of costs and benefits, and aggregation technologies in each policy domain. Joint-product models predict equal burden-sharing for protection and assurance because of their respective weakest-link and summation aggregation technologies with symmetric costs. Prevention is also characterized by the technology of summation, but asymmetry of costs implies uneven burden-sharing. Uneven burden-sharing is predicted for compellence because it has the largest asymmetry of costs and a best-shot aggregation technology. Evaluating burden-sharing relative to a country's ability to contribute, Kendall tau-tests examine the rank-correlation between security burden and the capacity of EU member states. These tests show that the smaller EU members disproportionately shoulder the costs of assurance and protection; wealthier EU members carry a somewhat disproportionate burden in the provision of prevention, and larger EU members in the provision of compellence. When analyzing contributions relative to expected benefits, asymmetric marginal costs can largely explain uneven burden-sharing. The main conclusion is that the aggregated burden of collective security governance in the EU is shared quite evenly.

Research Article
Copyright © The IO Foundation 2009

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