Structure and Policy: A Framework for Analysis

  • Dirk Peters
Part of the Palgrave Studies in International Relations Series book series (PSIR)


This chapter develops a framework for analyzing security policies. It argues that states’ security policies respond to an incentive structure that is made up of two crucial aspects. On the one hand, international anarchy and the international distribution of power, which pressure states into power-seeking policies; on the other hand, international institutions, in which security policies have become embedded and which constrain policies to make them path-dependent. This claim will be substantiated on the basis of two pertinent theories, neorealism, or structural realism, and (historical) institutionalism. I will spell out which set of constraints and incentives states face from the viewpoint of these theories and discuss how these interact and how they eventually affect states’ policies.


Foreign Policy Security Policy International System Coordination Game International Distribution 
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Copyright information

© Dirk Peters 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dirk Peters
    • 1
  1. 1.Peace Research Institute FrankfurtGermany

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