Hair trigger

Kevin Lewis

January 20, 2017

The President and the Parties’ Ideologies: Party Ideas about Foreign Policy Since 1900

Verlan Lewis

Presidential Studies Quarterly, forthcoming

Throughout U.S. history, the two major political parties have switched positions many times on a variety of issues, including whether the United States should intervene more or less in foreign affairs. Are these changes simply the product of historical contingency, or are there structural factors at work that can help explain these developments? This article finds that change in party control of the presidency can help explain change in party ideologies with respect to foreign policy. Parties in long-term control of the presidency tend to change their ideology in ways that call for more foreign intervention, while parties in opposition to the presidency tend to change their ideology in ways that call for less foreign intervention.


Governing kidnap for ransom: Lloyd's as a “private regime”

Anja Shortland

Governance, forthcoming

Kidnap for ransom raises significant governance challenges. In the absence of formal regulation and enforcement, insurers have created an effective private governance regime to facilitate smooth commercial resolutions. Controlling ransoms is paramount: “supernormal” profits for kidnappers create kidnapping booms and undermine the market for insurance. Ransom control requires cooperation, but there are high transactions costs in enforcing a collusive agreement. The Coasean prediction is that a single firm will form to internalize the externalities arising from lax insurance and mismanaged ransom negotiations — or a government must order the market. There is indeed a single source of kidnap insurance: Lloyd's of London. Yet, within the Lloyd's market several insurers compete for business. Lloyd's is a club providing private governance: Its members issue standard contracts, follow the same regime for kidnap resolution, and exchange information to stabilize ransoms. Lloyd's, therefore, combines aspects of Coase's “single firm” and “government” solution to the externalities problem.


Peoples of the Enemy? Ukrainians and Russians 1995–2011

Louise Grogan

Comparative Economic Studies, December 2016, Pages 606–637

This paper tests three hypotheses about the origins of the conflict which began in 2014 in Ukraine, using the 1995–2011 World Values Surveys. First, a hypothesis that the economic situation of young fighting-age men in Eastern Ukraine worsened relative to that of young men in Russia during 1995–2011 is examined. Second, a hypothesis that the political views of respondents in Eastern Ukraine became more like those of people in neighbouring Russian regions is investigated. Third, a hypothesis that people in Eastern Ukraine became relatively more disillusioned with the quality of their national institutions during this period is tested. None of these three hypotheses is much supported by the data.


What Terrorist Leaders Want: A Content Analysis of Terrorist Propaganda Videos

Max Abrahms, Nicholas Beauchamp & Joseph Mroszczyk

Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, forthcoming

In recent years, a growing body of empirical research suggests that indiscriminate violence against civilian targets tends to carry substantial political risks compared to more selective violence against military targets. To better understand why terrorist groups sometimes attack politically suboptimal targets, scholars are increasingly adopting a principal-agent framework where the leaders of terrorist groups are understood as principals and lower level members as agents. According to this framework, terrorist leaders are thought to behave as essentially rational political actors, whereas lower level members are believed to harbor stronger non-political incentives for harming civilians, often in defiance of leadership preferences. We test this proposition with an original content analysis of terrorist propaganda videos. Consistent with the principal–agent framework, our analysis demonstrates statistically that terrorist leaders tend to favor significantly less indiscriminate violence than their operatives actually commit, providing unprecedented insight into the incentive structure of terrorist leaders relative to the rank-and-file.


The Power of the Weak: How Informal Power-Sharing Shapes the Work of the UN Security Council

Christoph Mikulaschek

Princeton Working Paper, October 2016

To what extent is the work of international organizations shaped by their most powerful members? Can minor powers influence the decisions taken at these organizations? This paper presents the argument that great powers engage in power-sharing in order to attain unanimity inside international organizations, which enhances compliance and reduces the cost of implementing their decisions. An analysis of the UN Security Council tests this argument. Challenging the conventional wisdom that minor powers’ influence on the Council is negligible, this paper identifies a series of informal power-sharing practices, which promote consensus and augment minor powers’ influence far beyond what one would expect on the basis of the material capabilities and formal voting power of these states. The study relies on a novel design-based approach, which exploits exogenous variation in Africa’s participation on the Security Council to estimate the influence of African states inside this body. Non-parametric permutation tests and a qualitative case study show that African states have a substantial impact on the Council’s response to civil wars in Africa between 1988 and 2014. During years when a given African region is represented on the Security Council, the UN deploys an average of 920 more peacekeepers and allocates larger peacekeeping budgets to civil-war countries in that region than during years without a member of the Council from that region. This effect of a seat on the Council is particularly pronounced during major crises, when great powers are most eager to attain unanimity through power-sharing, and while minor powers benefit from the informal authority of the Council’s rotating presidency. Informal power-sharing inside international organizations such as the Security Council, motivated by the self-interests of powerful states, enhances the influence of minor powers.


Collective Trauma From the Lab to the Real World: The Effects of the Holocaust on Contemporary Israeli Political Cognitions

Daphna Canetti et al.

Political Psychology, forthcoming

This research tested whether chronic or contextually activated Holocaust exposure is associated with more extreme political attitudes among Israeli Jews. Study 1 (N = 57), and Study 2 (N = 61) found that Holocaust primes increased support for aggressive policies against a current adversary and decreased support for political compromise via an amplified sense of identification with Zionist ideology. These effects, however, were obtained only under an exclusive but not an inclusive framing of the Holocaust. Study 3 (N = 152) replicated these findings in a field study conducted around Holocaust Remembrance Day and showed that the link between Holocaust exposure, ideological identification, and militancy also occurs in real-life settings. Study 4 (N = 867) demonstrated in a nationally representative survey that Holocaust survivors and their descendants exhibited amplified existential threat responses to contemporary political violence, which were associated with militancy and opposition to peaceful compromises. Together, these studies illustrate the Holocaustization of Israeli political cognitions 70 years later.


The Politics of Scrutiny in Human Rights Monitoring: Evidence from Structural Topic Models of US State Department Human Rights Reports

Benjamin Bagozzi & Daniel Berliner

Political Science Research and Methods, forthcoming

Human rights monitoring reports play important roles both in the international human rights regime and in productions of human rights data. However, human rights reports are produced by organizations subject to formal and informal pressures that may influence the topics considered salient for attention and scrutiny. We study this potential using structural topic models (STMs), a method used for identifying the latent topical dimensions of texts and assessing the effects of covariates on these dimensions. We apply STMs to a corpus of 6298 State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices (1977–2012), identifying a plausible set of topics including killings and disappearances, freedoms of expression and movement, and labor rights, among others. We find that these topics vary markedly both over time and space. We also find that while US domestic politics play no systematic role in shaping topic prevalence, US allies tend to receive more attention to violations of physical integrity rights. These results challenge extant research, and illustrate the usefulness of STM methods for future study of foreign policy documents. Our findings also highlight the importance of topical attention shifts in documents that monitor and evaluate countries.


The Cart and the Horse Redux: The Timing of Border Settlement and Joint Democracy

Andrew Owsiak & John Vasquez

British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Do democratic dyads handle their disputes more peacefully than non-democratic dyads, or have they cleared the most contentious issues (that is, unsettled borders) off their foreign policy agenda before becoming democratic? This study compares the conflicting answers of the democratic peace and the territorial peace and examines the empirical record to see which is more accurate. It finds that almost all contiguous dyads settle their borders before they become joint democracies. Furthermore, the majority of non-contiguous dyad members also settle their borders with all neighboring states before their non-contiguous dyad becomes jointly democratic. Such findings are consistent with the theoretical expectations of the territorial peace, rather than the democratic peace. They also weaken a core argument of the democratic peace, for this analysis finds that one reason democratic dyads may handle their disputes more peacefully than non-democratic dyads is not because of their institutions or norms, but rather because they have dispensed with the disputes most likely to involve the use of military force prior to becoming democratic.


The Role of Behavioral Responses in the Total Economic Consequences of Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Air Travel Targets

Adam Rose et al.

Risk Analysis, forthcoming

U.S. airports and airliners are prime terrorist targets. Not only do the facilities and equipment represent high-value assets, but the fear and dread that is spread by such attacks can have tremendous effects on the U.S. economy. This article presents the methodology, data, and estimates of the macroeconomic impacts stemming from behavioral responses to a simulated terrorist attack on a U.S. airport and on a domestic airliner. The analysis is based on risk-perception surveys of these two scenarios. The responses relate to reduced demand for airline travel, shifts to other modes, spending on nontravel items, and savings of potential travel expenditures by U.S. resident passengers considering flying domestic routes. We translate these responses to individual spending categories and feed these direct impact results into a computable general equilibrium (CGE) model of the U.S. economy to ascertain the indirect and total impacts on both the airline industry and the economy as a whole. Overall, the estimated impacts on GDP of both types of attacks exceed $10B. We find that the behavioral economic impacts are almost an order of magnitude higher than the ordinary business interruption impacts for the airliner attack and nearly two orders of magnitude higher for the airport attack. The results are robust to sensitivity tests on the travel behavior of U.S. residents in response to terrorism.


Are Military Regimes Really Belligerent?

Nam Kyu Kim

Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Does military rule make a state more belligerent internationally? Several studies have recently established that military autocracies are more likely than civilian autocracies to deploy and use military force in pursuit of foreign policy objectives. I argue that military regimes are more likely to resort to military force because they are located in more hostile security environments, and not because they are inherently aggressive. First, I show that rule by military institution is more likely to emerge and exist in states facing external territorial threats. Second, by examining the relationship between military autocracies and conflict initiation, I find that once I control for states’ territorial threats, the statistical association between military regimes and conflict initiation disappears. Additionally, more evidence suggests that civilian dictatorships are more conflict-prone than their military counterparts when I account for unobserved dyad heterogeneity. The results are consistent across different measures of international conflict and authoritarian regimes.


Know Thy Enemy: Education About Terrorism Improves Social Attitudes Toward Terrorists

Jordan Theriault, Peter Krause & Liane Young

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Hatred of terrorists is an obstacle to the implementation of effective counterterrorism policies — it invites indiscriminate retaliation, whereas many of the greatest successes in counterterrorism have come from understanding terrorists’ personal and political motivations. Drawing from psychological research, traditional prejudice reduction strategies are generally not well suited to the task of reducing hatred of terrorists. Instead, in 2 studies, we explored education’s potential ability to reduce extreme negative attitudes toward terrorists. Study 1 compared students in a college course on terrorism (treatment) with wait-listed students, measuring prosocial attitudes toward a hypothetical terrorist. Initially, all students reported extremely negative attitudes; however, at the end of the semester, treatment students’ attitudes were significantly improved. Study 2 replicated the effect within a sample of treatment and control classes drawn from universities across the United States. The present work was part of an ongoing research project, focusing on foreign policy and the perceived threat of terrorism; thus classes did not explicitly aim to reduce prejudice, making the effect of treatment somewhat surprising. One possibility is that learning about terrorists “crowds out” the initial pejorative associations — that is, the label terrorism may ultimately call more information to mind, diluting its initial negative associative links. Alternatively, students may learn to challenge how the label terrorist is being applied. In either case, learning about terrorism can decrease the extreme negative reactions it evokes, which is desirable if one wishes to implement effective counterterrorism policies.


Arms versus Democratic Allies

Matthew Digiuseppe & Paul Poast

British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

In theory, states can gain security by acquiring internal arms or external allies. Yet the empirical literature offers mixed findings: some studies find arms and allies to be substitutes, while others find them to be complements. This article contends that these conflicting findings are due to scholars failing to consider how regime type influences the choice between arms and allies. Since democracies are highly credible allies, states that form alliances with democracies can confidently reduce their internal arms. This is not the case when states form alliances with non-democracies. This study evaluates the argument using data on military expenditures and defense pacts from 1950 to 2001. Taking steps to account for the potentially endogenous relationship between arms and allies, it finds that democratic alliances are associated with lower levels of military spending.


Peacekeeping, Compliance with International Norms, and Transactional Sex in Monrovia, Liberia

Bernd Beber et al.

International Organization, forthcoming

United Nations policy forbids its peacekeepers and other personnel from engaging in transactional sex (the exchange of money, favors, or gifts for sex), but we find the behavior to be very common in our survey of Liberian women. Using satellite imagery and GPS locators, we randomly selected 1,381 households and randomly sampled 475 women between the ages of eighteen and thirty. Using an iPod in private to preserve the anonymity of their responses, these women answered sensitive questions about their sexual histories. More than half of them had engaged in transactional sex, a large majority of them (more than 75 percent) with UN personnel. We estimate that each additional battalion of UN peacekeepers caused a significant increase in a woman's probability of engaging in her first transactional sex. Our findings raise the concern that the private actions of UN personnel in the field may set back the UN's broader gender-equality and economic development goals, and raise broader questions about compliance with international norms.


Is there a Qatari–Al-Jazeera nexus? Coverage of the 2022 FIFA World Cup controversy by Al-Jazeera versus Sky News, CNNI and ITV

Tal Samuel-Azran et al.

Global Media and Communication, December 2016, Pages 195-209

The Al-Jazeera–Qatari nexus is debatable and hard to examine because Qatari affairs are rarely in the news. Recently, Qatar made global headlines in connection with an alleged bribe to win the 2022 World Cup bid, which creates a rare opportunity to examine Al-Jazeera’s coverage of this as well as other Qatari affairs. We compared coverage by Al-Jazeera Arabic, Al-Jazeera English and Al-Jazeera America with coverage of international networks (Sky News, CNN International and ITV). The analysis reveals that while Al-Jazeera English and America maintained high journalistic norms when reporting on the 2022 World Cup controversy, Al-Jazeera Arabic almost never criticizes its Qatari sponsor. The study highlights the dramatic differences between Al-Jazeera’s English and Arabic versions, looking at journalistic values in general and Qatari affairs coverage in particular.


On the Road to Belgrade: Yugoslavia, Third World Neutrals, and the Evolution of Global Non-Alignment, 1954–1961

Aleksandar Životić & Jovan Čavoški

Journal of Cold War Studies, Fall 2016, Pages 79-97

Attempts by Yugoslav leaders to redirect their country's foreign policy orientation and redefine their priorities came to the fore in 1954. Yugoslav officials explicitly affirmed a long-term foreign policy goal of strengthening and developing relations with Arab countries, India, and other Asian and African countries that had no ties to existing political blocs. The idea of creating a wide movement deprived of hierarchical relations and centers of decision-making was much more acceptable for the Third World. The movement promoted peace and stability, opposed tensions and conflicts, and sought mutual cooperation and development. All these efforts demanded putting together a much broader international coalition than in just Asia and Africa. This is how the Non-Aligned Movement arose and took a more definitive shape after the Cairo Conference in 1964 and the Lusaka Summit in 1970.


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