Findings

On the world stage

Kevin Lewis

August 25, 2014

The Emperor Has No Clothes: The Limits of OPEC in the Global Oil Market

Jeff Colgan
International Organization, Summer 2014, Pages 599-632

Abstract:
Scholars have long debated the causal impact of international institutions such as the World Trade Organization or the International Monetary Fund. This study investigates Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), an organization that purports to have significant influence over the market for the world's most important commodity – petroleum. Using four empirical tests, I find that OPEC has little or no impact on its members' production levels. These findings prompt the question of why so many people, including scholars, believe in OPEC's influence over the world's oil supply. The idea of OPEC as a cartel is a “rational myth” that supports the organization's true principal function, which is to generate political benefits for its members. One benefit it generates is international prestige. I test this idea using data on diplomatic representation and find that OPEC membership is associated with increased international recognition by other states. Overall, these findings help one to better understand international regimes and the process of ideational change in world politics.

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Terrorism and Voting: The Effect of Rocket Threat on Voting in Israeli Elections

Anna Getmansky & Thomas Zeitzoff
American Political Science Review, August 2014, Pages 588-604

Abstract:
How does the threat of becoming a victim of terrorism affect voting behavior? Localities in southern Israel have been exposed to rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip since 2001. Relying on variation across time and space in the range of rockets, we identify the effect of this threat on voting in Israeli elections. We first show that the evolution of the rockets’ range leads to exogenous variation in the threat of terrorism. We then compare voting in national elections within and outside the rockets’ range. Our results suggest that right-wing vote-share is 2 to 6 percentage points higher in localities that are within the range – a substantively significant effect. Unlike previous studies that explore the role of actual exposure to terrorism on political preferences and behavior, we show that the mere threat of an attack affects voting.

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Decline and Devolution: The Sources of Strategic Military Retrenchment

Kyle Haynes
International Studies Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper offers a theory of military retrenchment by states in relative decline. I argue that a declining state will choose to withdraw foreign military deployments and security commitments when there exists a suitable regional “successor” to which it can devolve its current responsibilities. The degree of a successor's suitability and the strategic importance of the region to the declining state interact to determine when and how rapidly retrenchment will occur. Importantly, this devolutionary model of retrenchment predicts significant variations in retrenchment patterns across a declining state's multiple regional commitments. It advances the literature by producing nuanced predictions of precisely where, when, and how quickly retrenchment will occur. This paper assesses the theory empirically through an examination of Great Britain's varying regional retrenchment strategies prior to World War I.

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Between Collaboration and Disobedience: The Behavior of the Guantánamo Detainees and its Consequences

Emanuel Deutschmann
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article examines the behavior of the Guantánamo detainees in terms of collaboration and disobedience and how it influences their chances of getting a release recommendation. Joint Task Force Guantanamo–authored memoranda on 765 detainees are used to create a network of accusations between detainees and an attribute data set, which are analyzed using multivariate regression and Kolmogorov–Smirnov tests. It is found that while the distribution of incriminating statements obeys a power law, 62.6 percent of all detainees do not incriminate anyone. Yemenis and Saudi Arabians heavily overcontribute regarding incriminating statements and disobedient actions, whereas Afghans and Pakistanis undercontribute. Disobedient behavior does not affect the likelihood of getting a release recommendation, except for hunger striking, which has a negative effect. By releasing information, detainees don’t improve their own chances of getting release recommendations but impair those of the detainees they implicate. Three different groups of detainees are identified whose behavioral patterns seem to follow distinct logics.

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Children of War: The Long-Run Effects of Large-Scale Physical Destruction and Warfare on Children

Mevlude Akbulut-Yuksel
Journal of Human Resources, Summer 2014, Pages 634-662

Abstract:
This paper provides causal evidence on the long-term consequences of large-scale physical destruction on educational attainment, health status, and labor market outcomes of children. I exploit the plausibly exogenous region-by-cohort variation in the intensity of World War Two (WWII) destruction as a unique quasi-experiment. I find that exposure to destruction had long-lasting detrimental effects on the human capital formation, health, and labor market outcomes of Germans who were at school-age during WWII. An important channel for the effect of destruction on educational attainment is the destruction of schools whereas malnutrition is partly behind the estimated impact on health.

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Does Terrorism Pay? An Empirical Analysis

Max Abrahms & Matthew Gottfried
Terrorism and Political Violence, forthcoming

Abstract:
Does terrorism help perpetrators to achieve their demands? Few research questions about terrorism generate as much controversy. This study contributes to the debate in two main ways. First, we identify major limitations within the burgeoning literature on the effectiveness of terrorism. Specifically, we highlight the main methodological problems vexing empirical assessments of whether terrorism promotes government concessions. Second, we present a research design that circumvents those recurrent methodological shortcomings. In short, we find no empirical evidence to suggest that terrorism pays. In fact, multiple variants of the tactic in hostage standoffs impede the perpetrators from coercing government compliance. The negative effect of terrorism on the odds of compliance is significant and substantial across logistic and multilevel logistic model specifications, particularly when civilians are killed or wounded in the coercive incident. These findings have important implications for both scholars and practitioners of counterterrorism.

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From Shocks to Waves: Hegemonic Transitions and Democratization in the Twentieth Century

Seva Gunitsky
International Organization, Summer 2014, Pages 561-597

Abstract:
What causes democratic waves? This article puts forward a theory of institutional waves that focuses on the effects of systemic transformations. It argues that abrupt shifts in the distribution of power among leading states create unique and powerful incentives for sweeping domestic reforms. A variety of statistical tests reveals strong support for the idea that shifts in hegemonic power have shaped waves of democracy, fascism, and communism in the twentieth century, independent of domestic factors or horizontal diffusion. These “hegemonic shocks” produce windows of opportunity for external regime imposition, enable rising powers to rapidly expand networks of trade and patronage, and inspire imitators by credibly revealing hidden information about relative regime effectiveness to foreign audiences. I outline these mechanisms of coercion, influence, and emulation that connect shocks to waves, empirically test their relationship, and illustrate the theory with two case studies — the wave of democratic transitions after World War I, and the fascist wave of the late interwar period. In sum, democracy in the twentieth century cannot be fully understood without examining the effects of hegemonic shocks.

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Rewards for Ratification: Payoffs for Participating in the International Human Rights Regime?

Richard Nielsen & Beth Simmons
International Studies Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Among the explanations for state ratification of human rights treaties, few are more common and widely accepted than the conjecture that states are rewarded for ratification by other states. These rewards are expected to come in the form of tangible benefits — foreign aid, trade, and investment — and intangible benefits such as praise, acceptance, and legitimacy. Surprisingly, these explanations for ratification have never been tested empirically. We summarize and clarify the theoretical underpinnings of “reward-for-ratification” theories and test these propositions empirically by looking for increased international aid, economic agreements, and public praise and recognition following ratification of four prominent human rights treaties. We find almost no evidence that states can expect increased tangible or intangible rewards after ratification. Given the lack of empirical support, alternative explanations seem more appealing for understanding human rights treaty ratification.

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A Particular Difference: European Identity and Civilian Targeting

Tanisha Fazal & Brooke Greene
British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent scholarship has found identity variables to be insignificant predictors of civilian targeting in war. Drawing on the European origins of the law of war, this article argues that previous scholarship has neglected the one specification of ‘identity’ that is most theoretically justified for understanding civilian targeting: whether a European state is fighting a non-European state. This article replicates and extends three recent statistical analyses – Downes; Valentino, Huth and Croco; and Morrow – of civilian targeting by including a variable capturing whether a European state fought a non-European state. The study finds that civilian targeting, and non compliance with the law of war more generally, is significantly more likely in European v. non-European dyads than in other types of dyads.

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How Prior Military Experience Influences the Future Militarized Behavior of Leaders

Michael Horowitz & Allan Stam
International Organization, Summer 2014, Pages 527-559

Abstract:
Policy-makers and the electorate assume political executives' life experiences affect their policy choices once in office. Recent international relations work on leaders focuses almost entirely on how political institutions shape leaders' choices rather than on leaders' personal attributes and how they influence policy choices. This article focuses the analytic lens on leaders and their personal backgrounds. We theorize that the prior military background of a leader is an important life experience with direct relevance for how leaders evaluate the utility of using military force. We test several propositions employing a new data set, building on Archigos, that encompasses the life background characteristics of more than 2,500 heads of state from 1875 to 2004. The results show that the leaders most likely to initiate militarized disputes and wars are those with prior military service but no combat experience, as well as former rebels.

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Justa piratica: The ethics of piracy

James Pattison
Review of International Studies, October 2014, Pages 631-656

Abstract:
There has been widespread and vociferous condemnation of Somali piracy and several states have used force against the pirates. This reflects the prevailing view of pirates as belligerents and aggressors who act wrongly. In this article, I challenge this view by defending the conditional moral permissibility of piracy. More specifically, I first argue that piracy can be morally permissible when certain conditions are met. These are what I call the principles of ‘justa piratica’, that is, the principles of just piracy. Second, I claim that these conditions are likely to apply to some Somali pirates. Third, as a corollary, I argue that the case of piracy shows that one of the shibboleths of Just War Theory – that a war cannot be just on both sides – is mistaken.

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The Politics of Precedent in International Law: A Social Network Application

Krzysztof Pelc
American Political Science Review, August 2014, Pages 547-564

Abstract:
The concept of precedent is fundamental to domestic courts, especially in Anglo-American common law systems, where judges are bound to the court’s past decisions. By contrast, precedent has no formal authority in international law. Legal scholars point to Article 59 of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Statute in this respect, according to which international legal rulings are binding only on the parties in the dispute at hand, and have no bearing on matters outside of the case.

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The sound of silence: Power, secrecy, and international audiences in US military basing negotiations

Jonathan Brown
Conflict Management and Peace Science, September 2014, Pages 406-431

Abstract:
Why do leaders draw attention to some cooperative security negotiations but shroud others in secrecy? Previous scholarship focuses on leaders’ efforts to gain better terms of agreement either by playing their cards close to the vest at the bargaining table or by leveraging/avoiding aroused public opinion at home. Yet, in many cases, it is neither dyadic nor domestic political pressures that motivate leaders’ decisions to publicly acknowledge or conceal the occurrence of talks. This article suggests, instead, that third-party states often constitute the primary targets of official secrecy and that a state’s international power position shapes its decision to conceal or acknowledge military cooperation by affecting the size and attentiveness of international audiences, the types of assets it brings to the relationship and the benefits it seeks from cooperation. I test five hypotheses about leaders’ use of secrecy and acknowledgment through a statistical analysis of an original dataset on US overseas military basing negotiations. This analysis produces strong support for my argument.

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Inaction Inertia in International Negotiations: The Consequences of Missed Opportunities

Lesley Terris & Orit Tykocinski
British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
In international disputes, forgone settlement offers are frequently lamented, but their impact on the dynamics of ongoing negotiations is largely overlooked. In the psychological literature, however, the consequences of missing an advantageous action opportunity have been studied extensively in the context of the inaction inertia phenomenon. According to this literature, forgoing attractive action opportunities renders decision makers susceptible to regret and increases the likelihood that subsequent opportunities will also be missed. This article explores the explanatory potential of the inaction inertia effect in the context of international negotiations. Findings based on laboratory experiments and analysis of the negotiations between Israel and Hamas over the release of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit strongly suggest that the concept of inaction inertia can enrich the understanding of failures and deadlocks in international negotiations. The article defines the conditions that are instrumental in identifying inertia-induced deadlocks and discusses factors that encourage the termination of inaction inertia and promote dispute settlement.

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Implications of hydro-political dependency for international water cooperation and conflict: Insights from new data

Lucas Beck et al.
Political Geography, September 2014, Pages 23–33

Abstract:
Hydro-political dependencies between countries are widely regarded as having important implications for international water cooperation and conflict. Quantitative ex-post empirical research on the subject so far uses very simple characterizations of international river geography to proxy for such dependencies, though. The authors developed a new geo-spatial dataset for water catchments worldwide. This dataset combines elevation models, flow accumulation approaches, hydrological data, and data on international boundaries to generate more precise and nuanced measures of hydro-political dependencies among riparian countries. The paper discusses these measurement concepts, illustrates how dependencies are distributed worldwide, and revisits three prominent quantitative studies on the issue to show how using improved data affects empirical findings. In contrast to a very popular presumption, upstream–downstream dependencies turn out to have a very small to insignificant effect on international water cooperation or conflict.

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External Rebel Sponsorship and Civilian Abuse: A Principal-Agent Analysis of Wartime Atrocities

Idean Salehyan, David Siroky & Reed Wood
International Organization, Summer 2014, Pages 633-661

Abstract:
Although some rebel groups work hard to foster collaborative ties with civilians, others engage in egregious abuses and war crimes. We argue that foreign state funding for rebel organizations greatly reduces incentives to “win the hearts and minds” of civilians because it diminishes the need to collect resources from the population. However, unlike other lucrative resources, foreign funding of rebel groups must be understood in principal-agent terms. Some external principals — namely, democracies and states with strong human rights lobbies — are more concerned with atrocities in the conflict zone than others. Multiple state principals also lead to abuse because no single state can effectively restrain the organization. We test these conjectures with new data on foreign support for rebel groups and data on one-sided violence against civilians. Most notably, we find strong evidence that principal characteristics help influence agent actions.

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Complex Interstate Rivals

Brandon Valeriano & Matthew Powers
Foreign Policy Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
The goal of this article is to engage the concept of rivalry, analyze its possible deficiencies, and empirically identify which groups of states make up what we call complex rivals. A complex rivalry is defined as a group of at least three states whose relationships are linked by common issues, alignments, or dispute joiner dynamics in which there is a threat of militarized conflict and includes persistent long-term interactions and collective animosity. Once the cases that make up complex rivals are described, we examine the dynamics of conflict within complex rivalries. We show that complex rivals tend to follow a different path to war when compared to dyadic rivals in that they experience more war on average, are more likely to include major powers, and fight predominately over positional as opposed to spatial concerns.

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Circumstances, Domestic Audiences, and Reputational Incentives in International Crisis Bargaining

Alexandre Debs & Jessica Chen Weiss
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
We present a new theory of interstate crisis bargaining. A country’s resolve is a function of intrinsic qualities of the government and external circumstances, both of which are unknown by the domestic electorate and the foreign country. When domestic political debate reveals that circumstances favor the use of force, the government can extract better terms than if circumstances are revealed to be unfavorable. The revelation of circumstances, however, exacerbates reputational incentives. Because governments can no longer hide behind unknown circumstances, voters can better discern the government’s type from its actions, strengthening the incentives to appear resolved. The model bridges the gap between audience costs and its critiques, showing how domestic audiences punish leaders for inappropriate policies rather than empty threats. At the same time, it highlights how the prospects for peace are worse if uncertainty about the circumstances is removed, suggesting that greater transparency does not always promote peaceful outcomes.

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The Changing Face of War in Textbooks: Depictions of World War II and Vietnam, 1970–2009

Richard Lachmann & Lacy Mitchell
Sociology of Education, July 2014, Pages 188-203

Abstract:
How have U.S. high school textbook depictions of World War II and Vietnam changed since the 1970s? We examined 102 textbooks published from 1970 to 2009 to see how they treated U.S. involvement in World War II and Vietnam. Our content analysis of high school history textbooks finds that U.S. textbooks increasingly focus on the personal experiences of soldiers, rather than presenting impersonal accounts of battles, and are increasingly likely to focus on soldiers’ suffering rather than glorify combat. This shift is greater for Vietnam than for World War II. We also find increasing attention in textbooks to the fact, but not the substance, of protests against the Vietnam War. These changes provide more support for theories that view textbooks as sites of contestation or expressions of a world culture of individualism rather than purveyors of a hidden curriculum of nationalistic militarism. Future research on textbook production and comparisons of U.S. versus other countries’ textbooks might show how much of the change is particular to the United States, perhaps due to the Vietnam War, or attributable to global changes in military conscription, tolerance for casualties, and attitudes toward individual rights and group obligations.


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