Domestic institutions, strategic interests, and international conflict
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This dissertation explores the interactive effects of domestic audience costs and strategic interests on state behavior in international crises. I argue that the magnitude of a leaderÃ¢ÂÂs audience costs is influenced by the level of strategic interests, which leads to several predictions of crisis behavior in terms of (1) decisions to issue threats, including bluffs, (2) the credibility of these threats and the willingness of opponents to resist, and (3) crisis outcomes, including war. In the theoretical chapters, a formal model of crisis bargaining is stylized under conditions of complete and incomplete information. Based on this model, several novel predictions are derived regarding crisis behavior. These predictions are quantitatively tested through a series of monadic and dyadic probit and multinomial logit models using a dataset of deterrence crises for the period 1895-1985. The results lend strong validity to the approach advanced here that does not consider endogenous and exogenous factors in isolation, but rather models their interplay to predict the dynamics of crisis behavior. With respect to dispute initiation, the results show that strategic interests have a much stronger influence on authoritarian leadersÃ¢ÂÂ willingness to initiate disputes than they do for democracies. Moreover, the formal stylization and empirical analyses show that democracies can and do bluff, which is in contrast to the conventional expectations from audience cost research. Relatedly, this study specifies if and when democratic threats are credible and how the interplay between variable domestic costs and strategic interests can lead to deterrence success, failure, or war. While there is little difference between the credibility of democratic and authoritarian threats at the lower level of interests, democratic threats become more credible and less likely to be resisted as the interests at stake increase. As for crisis outcomes, among others, war is more likely between opponents with vital interests involved; yet even here, the predictions are not straightforward but rather the probability of war is increasing at a differential rate for democratic and authoritarian initiators. Whereas the formal models in this study provide the logical rationale for these and other expectations, the quantitative findings demonstrate their empirical validity as well.
SubjectDomestic Politics and International Conflict
Clare, Joseph Daniel (2006). Domestic institutions, strategic interests, and international conflict. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from