Disclaimer. Don't rely on these old notes in lieu of reading the literature, but they can jog your memory. As a grad student long ago, my peers and I collaborated to write and exchange summaries of political science research. I posted them to a wiki-style website. "Wikisum" is now dead but archived here. I cannot vouch for these notes' accuracy, nor can I say who wrote them.
Lake. 2004. Hierarchy in International Relations: Authority, Soveignty, and the New Structure of World Politics. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Political Science Association, Chicago, Sept 2-5, 2004 (Draft, not for quoting).
Authority vs power: authority is the legitimate right to get B to do A's will. Power is the coercive ability to get B to do A's will. Although power and authority differ in legitimacy, both have the same effect. Thus, authority can exist without a formal legal structure. Early social orders: if B is to consent to A's authority, A and B must both benefit from the relationship. Big man gains authority, then formal-legal power.
Sovereignty: we assume sovereigns have all power within a society, that sovereignty has a single apex within a state, and that all sovereigns are formally equal.
Hierarchy: A gains influence over some of B's affairs (but not all). Thus, a continuous variable: how much control does A have? From most anarchic to least, we have these: alliance, sphere of influence, neutralized state, weak protectorate, protectorate.
Operationalized: Hard to do. Two sets of observable indicators: military bases from A in B; number of independent alliances that B has (with states that A is not allied with)
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