Presents a new theoretical model of military alliances and other international organizations. The assumptions basic to the model are that nations act in their own best interests and that there is a "public goods" aspect to all joint undertakings. The main conclusions drawn from the analysis are that (1) a less than optimal amount of resources will be devoted to an alliance or other international organization; and (2) the burden of an alliance will be borne in a disproportional way, the larger members paying more than their proportional share. Empirical data from NATO and the United Nations are presented in support of these conclusions.
Olson, Mancur and Richard Zeckhauser, An Economic Theory of Alliances. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 1966. https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_memoranda/RM4297.html. Also available in print form.
Olson, Mancur and Richard Zeckhauser, An Economic Theory of Alliances, RAND Corporation, RM-4297-ISA, 1966. As of November 30, 2022: https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_memoranda/RM4297.html