Assessing Military Access in Politics: A Dyadic Methodology


The extensive literature on civil-military relations deals with the influence of the military on politics by attending to either specific policy outcomes, such as budgetary allocations, coups, or decisions to employ force; or to prerogatives, such as legal privileges, high office, or control of state enterprises. However, more structural, background forms of influence are not reducible either to policy outcomes or to prerogatives: for example, if the military is able to set the political agenda, or if certain civilian cadres owe their advancement to their ties with the military. This latter possibility, which we call access, is the focus of this paper. We propose a dyadic methodology for assessing access, based on long-term geographical proximity between particular civilian cadres and particular military officers; our measurement argument is that civilians who for many years have had ”buddy” ties with officers are, ceteris paribus, likely to advance more rapidly up the ladder than counterparts who lack such ties; and vice-versa for military officers with civilian buddies. This argument is tested using a sample from a large-scale data set of party cadres and military officers in China, with results pointing toward mutual effects of members of each group on the other, and the paper concludes with preliminary thoughts on both civil-military relations and dyadic research more generally.

Working Paper
Jean-Louis Arcand
Jean-Louis Arcand
Professor of Economics

My research interests include development economics, impact evaluation and nutrition and health.