Kevin Lewis

December 07, 2016

Don't Tread on Me: Constraint-Challenging Presidents and Strategic Conflict Avoidance

Jonathan Keller & Dennis Foster

Presidential Studies Quarterly, December 2016, Pages 808–827

Recent research demonstrates that U.S. presidents’ psychological predispositions influence the frequency with which they choose diversionary foreign policy strategies. The purpose of this article is to extend the expectations of this “first-image” theory of diversion to the strategic behavior of potential diversionary targets. We posit that U.S. presidents whose spontaneous public rhetoric indicates a willingness to challenge pacifying constraints should be viewed by potential enemies as more likely to engage in diversionary conflict. Building upon the “strategic conflict avoidance” perspective, we expect that when such presidents encounter diversionary incentives, other states will increase cooperation toward and avoid initiation of military disputes against the United States. Time-series analyses of behavior toward the United States for the period 1953–2000 largely bear out this expectation, as interstate rivals increase cooperation toward, and all states decrease militarized incident initiation against, the United States when economic misery is high and presidents whose rhetoric has revealed a proclivity for challenging constraints are in office.


Inside Irredentism: A Global Empirical Analysis

David Siroky & Christopher Hale

American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Although many countries have ethnic kin on the “wrong side” of their borders, few seek to annex foreign territories on the basis of ethnicity. This article examines why some states pursue irredentism, whereas others exhibit restraint. It focuses on the triadic structure of the kin group in the irredentist state, its coethnic enclave, and the host state, and provides new data on all actual and potential irredentist cases from 1946 to 2014. The results indicate that irredentism is more likely when the kin group is near economic parity with other groups in its own state, which results in status inconsistency and engenders grievances. It is also more likely in more ethnically homogeneous countries with winner-take-all majoritarian systems where the kin group does not need to moderate its policy to win elections by attracting other groups. These conditions generate both the grievance and opportunity for kin groups to pursue irredentism.


The Role of Perceived Deservingness in the Toleration of Human Rights Violations

Caroline Drolet, Carolyn Hafer & Larry Heuer

Social Justice Research, December 2016, Pages 429–455

Based on evidence that people have a strong need to see that individuals get what they deserve, we reasoned that people will tolerate a human rights violation to the extent that they believe the target of the violation deserves severe treatment. Thus, we expected that variables that influence the perceived deservingness of a target (i.e., “contextual cues” to deservingness) should influence toleration of a violation of the target’s rights, mediated by perceptions of the target’s deservingness. We also expected that the effect of a contextual cue to targets’ deservingness on toleration should occur even for people who support the violated right in the abstract. Across two studies, using student versus community samples, we measured participants’ abstract support for the right to humane treatment. We then presented participants with scenarios about a target who was tortured (a violation of the right to humane treatment), and manipulated a contextual cue to the targets’ deservingness for severe treatment — the moral reprehensibility of the targets’ past behavior. Participants tolerated a target’s torture more if he had engaged in highly morally reprehensible (vs. less reprehensible) behavior and, thus, was perceived to deserve more severe treatment. Participants’ abstract support for the right to humane treatment did not moderate the effect of moral reprehensibility on toleration. Our findings highlight the importance of perceived deservingness in the toleration of human rights violations and have implications for reducing such toleration. Our research also extends literature on deservingness to an important global issue.


The Impact of War on Happiness: the Case of Ukraine

Tom Coupe & Maksym Obrizan

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, December 2016, Pages 228–242

In this paper, we study how war affects happiness using data from the on-going conflict in Ukraine. Using a difference-in-difference design, we find that the average level of happiness declined substantially in areas that experience war directly, with the drop in happiness being roughly comparable to the loss of happiness a relatively well-off person would experience if he/she were to become a poor person. At the same time, despite the fact that the war in the East dominates the local media in Ukraine, respondents in other regions of Ukraine are about as happy as they were before the war.


A Modern Peace? Schumpeter, the Decline of Conflict, and the Investment–War Trade-Off

Tyson Chatagnier & Emanuele Castelli

Political Research Quarterly, December 2016, Pages 852-864

Drawing on the writings of Joseph Schumpeter, we develop and explore a new theory of international conflict. We outline a simple mechanism whereby industrialization fosters peace, suggesting that industrialized states are more peaceful because they can gain more by investing at home than by pursuing foreign military conquest. We borrow from Schumpeter to argue that our mechanism is distinct from traditional measures of liberalism. Empirically, we propose a measure of industrial development, based on a state’s economic structure. Using World Bank sector-specific economic data, our exploratory analysis shows that a more industrialized economy significantly reduces the likelihood that a state will be involved in a fatal military conflict. We show that this result is robust across a number of model specifications and independent of both democracy and capitalism. We propose this as an interesting first step toward a broader research program on modernization and conflict.


Do Western Educated Leaders Matter for War Involvement?

Joan Barceló

Washington University in Saint Louis Working Paper, October 2016

Recent theories on the causes of war focus on how institutional and structural factors shape leaders' decisions in foreign policy. However, citizens, policy-makers, and a growing number scholars argue that leaders' background experiences may matter for both domestic and foreign policy choices. This paper contributes to an emerging body of scholarship on leaders in international relations by showing how personal attributes influence war involvement. Based on the soft power theory of international experiences and the impressionable-years hypothesis of socialization, I theorize that leaders with the experience of attending a university in a Western democracy should be less likely than non-Western educated leaders to engage in militarized international disputes. I test this proposition by employing a new data set, building on Archigos and LEAD, that includes background attributes of more than 900 leaders from 147 non-Western and non-democratic countries between 1947-2001. The results strongly support the hypothesis, even when accounting for leader selection, time-variant country and leader-level controls, other leaders' background characteristics, and country and year fixed effects. This finding lends credence to the soft power thesis of academic institutions on international sojourners, and highlights the value of considering leaders' experiences in analyses about international relations.


The Effects of 9/11 on Attitudes toward Immigration and the Moderating Role of Education

Simone Schüller

Kyklos, November 2016, Pages 604–632

The 9/11 terror attacks are likely to have induced an increase in anti-immigrant and anti-foreigner sentiments, not only among US residents but also beyond US borders. Using unique longitudinal data from the German Socio-Economic Panel and exploiting exogenous variation in interview timing throughout 2001, I find that the 9/11 events caused an immediate shift of around 40 percent of one within-standard deviation to more negative attitudes toward immigration and resulted in a considerable decrease in concerns over xenophobic hostility among the German population. The quasi-experiment 9/11 provides evidence on the relevance of non-economic factors in attitude formation and the role of education in moderating the negative terrorism shock. Additional descriptive analysis suggests that the effects have also been persistent in the years after the attacks.


The Chicken or the Egg?: A Coevolutionary Approach to Disputed Issues and Militarized Conflict

Shawna Metzger

International Interactions, forthcoming

Is state behavior influenced by the context in which it occurs, or does context arise because of the way in which states behave? I investigate these questions in the context of international disputes over issues and states’ militarized behavior. The prevalent assumption in interstate conflict research is that disputed issues are exogenous to militarization patterns. I question the validity of this assumption, arguing that there are reasons to suspect that certain states self-select into disputes. I use a coevolution modeling strategy to allow the existence of disputes and states’ behavior to mutually affect one another. I find that disputes are not exogenous to states’ militarized behavior. States that resort to militarized behavior are more likely to dispute an issue than peaceful states. I also find evidence of behavioral contagion among states engaged in disputes: militarized behavior begets militarized behavior.


Terrorism’s effects on social capital in European countries

Paschalis Arvanitidis, Athina Economou & Christos Kollias

Public Choice, December 2016, Pages 231–250

Studies have shown that major terrorist events have the potential to exert significant influence on citizens’ risk-perceptions, (in) security sentiments, values and behavioral attitudes towards state institutions and their fellow citizens. Within this growing strand of literature, this paper, allowing for a cohort of demographic and socioeconomic traits, examines the extent to which major terrorist events in four European countries affected two key aspects of social capital, namely institutional and social trust. The data used are drawn from European Social Surveys for the years 2004, 2012 and 2014. Results reported indicate that terrorist incidents can trigger social dynamics that affect trust attitudes; however, these effects are short-lived and dissipate rapidly.


Climate effects of a hypothetical regional nuclear war: Sensitivity to emission duration and particle composition

Francesco Pausata et al.

Earth's Future, forthcoming

Here we use a coupled atmospheric-ocean-aerosol model to investigate the plume development and climate effects of the smoke generated by fires following a regional nuclear war between emerging third-world nuclear powers. We simulate a standard scenario where 5 Tg of black carbon (BC) is emitted over 1 day in the upper troposphere-lower stratosphere. However, it is likely that the emissions from the fires ignited by bomb detonations include a substantial amount of particulate organic matter (POM) and that they last more than 1 day. We therefore test the sensitivity of the aerosol plume and climate system to the BC/ POM ratio (1:3, 1:9) and to the emission length (1 day, 1 week, 1 month). We find that in general, an emission length of 1 month substantially reduces the cooling compared to the 1-day case, whereas taking into account POM emissions notably increases the cooling and the reduction of precipitation associated with the nuclear war during the first year following the detonation. Accounting for POM emissions increases the particle size in the short-emission-length scenarios (1 day/1 week), reducing the residence time of the injected particle. While the initial cooling is more intense when including POM emission, the long-lasting effects, while still large, may be less extreme compared to the BC-only case. Our study highlights that the emission altitude reached by the plume is sensitive to both the particle type emitted by the fires and the emission duration. Consequently, the climate effects of a nuclear war are strongly dependent on these parameters.


Covert Operations, Wars, Detainee Destinations, and the Psychology of Democratic Peace

Christian Crandall et al.

Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

We explore US covert forcible actions against democratic governments and their citizens and show that interdemocratic use of covert force is common and can be accommodated within the theory of democratic peace. Grounded in the Perceptual Theory of Legitimacy, we argue that democracies are constrained by public perceptions of their legitimacy from overtly aggressing against other democratic states. When democracies desire to aggress against their democratic counterparts, they will do so covertly. We test the assumptions of the theory and its implication with (1) laboratory studies of the conflation of democracy with ally status and (2) historical analyses of covert militarized actions and prisoner detention, which show that US forcible actions, when carried out against democracies and their citizens, are carried out clandestinely.


Foreign aid allocation from a network perspective: The effect of global ties

Liam Swiss

Social Science Research, forthcoming

This article examines competing explanations for foreign aid allocation on the global level and argues for a new approach to understanding aid from an institutionalist perspective. Using network data on all official bilateral aid relationships between countries in the period from 1975 through 2006 and data on recipient country ties to world society, the article offers an alternative explanation for the allocation of global foreign aid. Fixed effects negative binomial regression models on a panel sample of 117 developing countries reveal that global ties to world society in the form of non-governmental memberships and treaty ratifications are strong determinants of the network centrality of recipient countries in the global foreign aid network. Countries with a higher level of adherence and connection to world society norms and organizations are shown to be the beneficiaries of an increased number of aid relationships with wealthy donor countries. The findings also suggest that prior explanations of aid allocation grounded in altruist or realist motivations are insufficient to account for the patterns of aid allocation seen globally in recent years.


Representing All Women: An Analysis of Congress, Foreign Policy, and the Boundaries of Women’s Surrogate Representation

Sara Angevine

Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Is sisterhood global? This study investigates if women in Congress are representing women worldwide by extending their surrogate representation of American women to women in foreign countries. Congressional research shows that race affects surrogate representation across borders via transnationalism. I test whether this also applies to gender when no shared “mother country” unites women, there are divisions over how to represent women, and American foreign policy is considered a stereotypically masculine policy domain. With an original dataset of three Congresses (2005–2010), I test if female House Representatives are more likely to introduce foreign policy legislation that targets foreign women and girls by applying regression analysis. Controlling for likely individual, electoral, and institutional incentives, I find that gender matters and that women in Congress are more likely to introduce legislation on behalf of women worldwide, acting as global surrogates. These findings offer new insights into the boundaries of surrogate representation, congressional foreign policy decision making, the influence of gender on international relations, and the impact of women in Congress.


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