Who's in the cockpit? : the political economy of collaborative aircraft decisions
Title: Who's in the cockpit? : the political economy of collaborative aircraft decisions
Citation: Review of international political economy, 2014, Vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 497-533
Few issues are more important to states' security than their ability to acquire modern weaponry. Today, advanced industrial democracies possess three options for doing this. In principle, they can : autonomously produce their own armaments, import them from foreign suppliers, or collaborate with other states to co-produce common weapons. In this study, we examine the factors driving state decisions to either collaboratively or autonomously procure advanced weaponry. To this end, we analyse fr and British decisions about whether or not to collaborate in the domain of combat aircraft. To preview our conclusion, we draw on the Varieties of Capitalism approach to argue that the underlying institutional structures of national political economies explain why otherwise similar states have enacted divergent policies. Within Étatist France, dense exchanges and close relationships within elite networks enable large defence contractors to veto government decisions that contravene their preferences. By way of contrast, Britain's liberal market economy empowers its government to impose its preference for collaborative projects onto aircraft manufacturers, even when the latter attempt to lobby in favour of promising national designs. Thus, what variety of capitalism a state practises determines whether governments or contractors occupy the metaphorical cockpit when it comes to making procurement policies.
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