Findings

Out in force

Kevin Lewis

November 30, 2015

War and the Growth of Government

Colin O'Reilly & Benjamin Powell
European Journal of Political Economy, December 2015, Pages 31-41

Abstract:
This paper empirically examines how wars impact the size and scope of government using a panel of all wars from 1965 to 2010. Higgs (1987) gives us reason to believe that wars may permanently increase government size and scope while Olson (1982) describes how wars can dislodge interest groups and allow for market liberalizing reforms. We find that wars permanently expand the scope of government regulation but do not impact government size systematically across the countries we study.

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Trading Hard Hats for Combat Helmets: The Economics of Rebellion in Eastern Ukraine

Yuri Zhukov
Journal of Comparative Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using new micro-level data on violence in Eastern Ukraine, this article evaluates the relative merits of 'identity-based' and 'economic' explanations of civil conflict. The first view expects rebellion to be most likely in areas home to the geographic concentration of ethnolinguistic minorities. The second expects more rebel activity where the opportunity costs of insurrection are low. Evidence from the armed conflict in Ukraine supports the second view more than the first. A municipality's prewar employment mix is a more robust predictor of rebel activity than local ethnolinguistic composition. Municipalities more exposed to trade shocks with Russia experienced a higher intensity of rebel violence throughout the conflict. Such localities also fell under rebel control earlier - and took longer for the government to liberate - than municipalities where the labor force was less dependent on exports to Russia.

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From Economic Competition to Military Combat: Export Similarity and International Conflict

Tyson Chatagnier & Kerim Can Kavaklı
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
The vast majority of the extant literature on trade and conflict focuses on bilateral trade to determine whether commerce has a pacifying effect upon pairs of states. We argue that this focus neglects a critical role of international trade: creating tension between states that sell similar goods to the global market. We consider this role explicitly and operationalize its effects empirically. Using commodity-level trade data from 1962 to 2000, we show that countries that produce and sell similar goods are generally more likely to fight, even after we take into account their bilateral trade ties and institutional membership in the global economic system. Our findings are robust to numerous alternative specifications and suggest a strong relationship between economic competition in the global market and military conflict between states.

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War and Relatedness

Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg
Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We find that more closely related populations are more prone to engage in international conflict with each other. We provide an economic interpretation based on two connected mechanisms. First, more closely related groups share more similar preferences over rival goods and are thus more likely to fight over them. Second, rulers have stronger incentives to conquer populations more similar to their own, to minimize post-conflict heterogeneity in preferences over government types and policies. We find support for these mechanisms using evidence on international conflicts over natural endowments and on territorial changes, including decolonization.

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Is Putin's Popularity Real?

Timothy Frye et al.
Post-Soviet Affairs, forthcoming

Abstract:
Vladimir Putin has managed to achieve strikingly high public approval ratings throughout his time as president and prime minister of Russia. But is his popularity real, or are respondents lying to pollsters? We conducted a series of list experiments in early 2015 to estimate support for Putin while allowing respondents to maintain ambiguity about whether they personally do so. Our estimates suggest support for Putin of approximately 80 percent, which is within ten percentage points of that implied by direct questioning. We find little evidence that these estimates are positively biased due to the presence of floor effects. In contrast, our analysis of placebo experiments suggests that there may be a small negative bias due to artificial deflation. We conclude that Putin's approval ratings largely reflect the attitudes of Russian citizens.

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The Political Legacies of Combat: Attitudes Toward War and Peace Among Israeli Ex-Combatants

Guy Grossman, Devorah Manekin & Dan Miodownik
International Organization, Fall 2015, Pages 981-1009

Abstract:
Recent research has highlighted combat's positive effects for political behavior, but it is unclear whether they extend to attitudes toward the conflict itself. We exploit the assignment of health rankings determining combat eligibility in the Israel Defense Forces to examine the effect of combat exposure on support for peaceful conflict resolution. Given the centrality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to global affairs, and its apparent intractability, the political consequences of combat become all the more pressing. We find that exposure to combat hardens attitudes toward the rival and reduces support for negotiation and compromise. Importantly, these attitudes translate into voting behavior: combatants are likely to vote for more hawkish parties. These findings call for caution in emphasizing the benign effects of combat and underscore the importance of reintegrating combatants during the transition from conflict to peace.

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Who's Afraid of the Bomb? The Role of Nuclear Non-Use Norms in Confrontations between Nuclear and Non-Nuclear Opponents

Paul Avey
Security Studies, Fall 2015, Pages 563-596

Abstract:
This article examines the role that nuclear non-use norms play in non-nuclear state decision making during confrontations with nuclear opponents. The claim that norms constrain nuclear use is one of the most important examples of norms influencing state security decisions. Many extend the claim to argue that non-nuclear weapon states realize norms constrain the nuclear opponent and therefore discount the possibility of nuclear strikes. To date there has been little effort to examine this extended claim. This article outlines the normative claims and an alternative strategic logic. It assesses the positions by examining two cases that the normative literature highlights: Egypt in 1973 and Iraq in 1990. The article finds little evidence that the non-use norm played a significant role in non-nuclear state decision making. Rather, non-nuclear state leaders took their opponents' nuclear arsenals very seriously and sought to reduce the risks of nuclear strikes.

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Operational Stress and Correlates of Mental Health Among Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay Military Personnel

Jennifer Webb-Murphy et al.
Journal of Traumatic Stress, forthcoming

Abstract:
Military personnel deployed to Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay (JTF-GTMO) faced numerous occupational stressors. As part of a program evaluation, personnel working at JTF-GTMO completed several validated self-report measures. Personnel were at the beginning, middle, or end of their deployment phase. This study presents data regarding symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, alcohol abuse, depression, and resilience among 498 U.S. military personnel deployed to JTF-GTMO in 2009. We also investigated individual and organizational correlates of mental health among these personnel. Findings indicated that tenure at JTF-GTMO was positively related to adverse mental health outcomes. Regression models including these variables had R2 values ranging from .02 to .11. Occupation at JTF-GTMO also related to mental health such that guards reported poorer mental health than medical staff. Reluctance to seek out mental health care was also related to mental health outcomes. Those who reported being most reluctant to seek out care tended to report poorer mental health than those who were more willing to seek out care. Results suggested that the JTF-GTMO deployment was associated with significant psychological stress, and that both job-related and attitude-related variables were important to understanding mental health symptoms in this sample.

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Ethically Investigating Torture Efficacy: A New Methodology to Test the Influence of Physical Pain on Decision-Making Processes in Experimental Interrogation Scenarios

Shannon Houck & Lucian Gideon Conway
Journal of Applied Security Research, Fall 2015, Pages 510-524

Abstract:
Torture's effectiveness is a frequently debated yet under-researched topic. This article describes a new experimental method to ethically investigate one component of torture: The influence of physical pain on people's decisions to reveal secret or false information. In particular, participants played a game that was designed to be a proxy of an interrogation scenario. As part of the game, participants were instructed to keep specific information hidden from an opponent while their hand was submerged in varying temperatures of ice water (a cold pressor test that causes pain). Further, their opponent (actually a confederate) verbally pressured them to reveal the information. Participants could choose to give false information to their opponent, true information, or a combination of both. Results suggested the potential usefulness of this method to examine the effectiveness of using pain for information retrieval in a scenario similar to interrogation: Analyses revealed that participants were more likely to reveal false information when exposed to the cold pressor test, and this effect became more pronounced as manipulated water temperatures became colder (from 10 degrees to 5 degrees to 1 degree). This study offers a methodological advance on a challenging topic to research, and can inform our understanding of the efficacy of physical pain as an information retrieval tool.

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The interrogation game: Using coercion and rewards to elicit information from groups

David Blake Johnson & John Barry Ryan
Journal of Peace Research, November 2015, Pages 822-837

Abstract:
While there is widespread debate about techniques for obtaining information from non-cooperative sources, there is little research concerning the efficacy of different methods. We introduce the 'Interrogation Game' as a simple model of the information a source will provide when faced with either (1) an interrogator using coercive techniques or (2) an interrogator offering rewards. The model demonstrates that coercive interrogation results in a very slight increase in accurate information from knowledgeable sources, but much more inaccurate information from ignorant sources. In short, when ignorant group members refuse to provide information, this increases the inequality of payoffs among group members under coercion while the same behavior - truthfully revealing ignorance - decreases the inequality of payoffs under reward. If ignorant detainees have concern for the payoffs of their other group members, they will admit their ignorance in reward, but not coercion. We test the model with a group-based experiment. As the model predicts, coercion leads subjects to provide more inaccurate information. Contrary to the model's expectations, however, accurate information is almost equally likely in the coercion and reward treatments.

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Aiming at Doves: Experimental Evidence of Military Images' Political Effects

Jonathan Caverley & Yanna Krupnikov
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
Politicians (and journalists covering them) assume that association with the military has political consequences. We propose and experimentally test conditions under which military images have such effects. We presented subjects with images of the US president before varying backgrounds - including soldiers, students, children, and "ordinary" people. Only the image of soldiers has any significant effect, shifting participant preferences toward spending money on defense over education. The image does this by increasing respondent sense of threats to national security, despite the military's depiction out of combat and in the background. The soldiers image does little to shift opinion about the president. However, the image has the largest hawkish effect on both the president's copartisans and the strongest supporters. Given the routine use by many democracies of tactics unlikely to produce images of one's fellow citizens in combat, the power of more sanitized images to cue hawkish policy preferences requires increased attention.

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How Dominant Narratives Rise and Fall: Military Conflict, Politics, and the Cold War Consensus

Ronald Krebs
International Organization, Fall 2015, Pages 809-845

Abstract:
Contemporaries and historians often blame the errors and tragedies of US policy during the Cold War on a dominant narrative of national security: the "Cold War consensus." Its usual periodization, according to which it came together in the late 1940s and persisted until the late 1960s when it unraveled amidst the trauma of the Vietnam War, fits well with a common theory of change in ideas and discourse. That theory expects stasis until a substantial unexpected failure (in this domain, military defeat) discredits dominant ideas and unsettles dominant coalitions. However, systematic data reveal the standard history of this important case to be wrong. Based on a large-scale content analysis of newspaper editorials on foreign affairs, this article shows that the Cold War narrative was narrower than conventional accounts suggest, that it did not coalesce until well into the 1950s, and that it began to erode even before the Vietnam War's Americanization in 1965. To make sense of this puzzle, I develop an alternative theory of the rise and fall of the narratives that underpin and structure debate over national security. Rooted in the dynamics of public narrative and the domestic politics of the battlefield, the theory argues that military failure impedes change in the narrative in whose terms government officials had legitimated the mission, whereas victory creates the opportunity for departures from the dominant narrative. Process-tracing reveals causal dynamics consistent with the theory: failure in the Korean War, which might have undermined Cold War globalism, instead facilitated the Cold War narrative's rise to dominance (or consensus); and the triumph of the Cuban Missile Crisis made possible that dominant narrative's breakdown before the upheaval of Vietnam. This hard and important case suggests the need to rethink the relationship between success, failure, and change in dominant narratives of national security-and perhaps in other policy domains as well.

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Nuclear bombs and economic sanctions

Kaz Miyagiwa & Yuka Ohno
Southern Economic Journal, October 2015, Pages 635-646

Abstract:
We examine the efficacy of trade sanctions when a target's action causes an irrevocable change in the status quo; for example, sanctions to stop a target's nuclear weapons development program. We find that when a sanctioning country cannot precommit to maintain sanctions long after a target becomes a nuclear power, sanctions are not only inefficacious but they backfire, spurring a target to intensify its effort to complete the nuclear program. If the nuclear program has several stages to complete, gradually increasing sanctions as the nuclear threat becomes more imminent may also backfire even though the program is potentially stoppable when sufficient pressure is applied earlier on. We also discuss the policy implications of our analysis.

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Facing Off and Saving Face: Covert Intervention and Escalation Management in the Korean War

Austin Carson
International Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
States pursue their cooperative and competitive goals using both public and private policy tools. Yet there is a profound mismatch between the depth, variety, and importance of covert activity and what scholars of International Relations (IR) know about it. This article addresses this gap by analyzing how adversaries struggle for influence within the covert sphere, why they often retreat to it, and when they abandon it. It focuses on secrecy among adversaries intervening in local conflicts and develops a theory about secrecy's utility as a device for creating sustainable limits in war. Drawing on insights about secrecy and face-work from the sociologist Erving Goffman, I show that major powers individually and collectively conceal evidence of foreign involvement when the danger of unintended conflict escalation is acute. Doing so creates a kind of "backstage" in which adversaries can exceed limits on war without stimulating hard-to-resist pressure to escalate further. An important payoff of the theory is making sense of puzzling cases of forbearance: even though adversaries often know about their opponent's covert activity, they often abstain from publicizing it. Such "tacit collusion" arises when both sides seek to manage escalation risks even as they compete for power and refuse to capitulate. The article evaluates the theory via several nested cases of external intervention in the Korean War. Drawing on newly available materials documenting the covert air war between secretly deployed Soviet pilots and Western forces, the cases show how adversaries can successfully limit war by concealing activity from outside audiences. Beyond highlighting the promise in studying the covert realm in world politics, the article has important implications for scholarship on coercive bargaining, reputation, state uses of secrecy, and how regime type influences conflict behavior.

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Finding a Peace that Lasts: Mediator Leverage and the Durable Resolution of Civil Wars

Lindsay Reid
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
How does leverage vary across different mediators? What influence does this variation have on mediation outcomes? Extant literature has equated mediation leverage with material power. Leverage, however, is context dependent and comprised of two dimensions: capability and credibility. Capability leverage is a function of economic resources and power, while credibility leverage derives influence from historical and cultural ties that bolster a mediator's contextual knowledge of a conflict. I hypothesize that mediators with capability leverage are more likely to achieve short-term success, whereas mediators with credibility leverage generate more durable settlements. I quantitatively test the hypotheses using civil war mediation attempts from 1989 to 2006. I find that capability leverage does indeed contribute to the achievement of short-term success; credibility leverage, however, generates a more durable peace. The results demonstrate the importance of understanding mediation leverage as a context-dependent concept and highlight the potential long-term benefits of softer forms of mediation.

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How Democratic Alliances Solve the Power Parity Problem

Justin Conrad
British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Why do challengers attack some states that have allies, while avoiding conflict with others? This article builds upon previous research by arguing that parity in the observable capabilities of opposing states and their allies generates greater uncertainty and miscalculations on the part of challengers, which leads to a higher probability of conflict. Unlike previous research, however, this article argues that military alliances among democracies are better able to overcome this uncertainty, making power distributions largely irrelevant. The results demonstrate that uncertainty generated at power parity is mitigated when a target state's allies are more democratic, resulting in no overall change in the probability of conflict. This study therefore emphasizes that the effectiveness of military alliances lies not necessarily in their aggregation of power, but in their ability to co-ordinate their power and communicate this co-ordination to potential challengers.

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Americans' Value Preferences Pre- and Post-9/11

David Ciuk
Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objective: This article examines the short- and long-term effects of the attacks of 9/11 on Americans' value preferences.

Method: Using data from 1994, 2002, and 2005, I estimate a rank-ordered logit model where the dependent variable is respondents' rank-ordered preferences on four values central to American political culture.

Results: The short-term effects of 9/11 are significant: Americans' were willing to "trade" equality and economic security for social order. In the long term, these effects fade and value preferences swing back to pre-9/11 levels.

Conclusion: These findings align nicely with a body of literature that suggests that traumatic public events induce feelings of panic and anxiety, thereby causing people to reorder their fundamental political cognitions. As these feelings fade, however, individuals' fundamental political cognitions revert back toward normal.

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Lootable resources and third-party intervention into civil wars

Michael Findley & Josiah Marineau
Conflict Management and Peace Science, November 2015, Pages 465-486

Abstract:
Third parties intervene in ongoing civil wars frequently and at times with nefarious intentions. In this paper, we consider the possibility that lootable natural resources motivate third parties to intervene in wars on the side of the opposition. Such resources offer a host of benefits to the intervener, including resource extraction and greater likelihood of rebel success. When rebels have access to lootable resources, we hypothesize that third parties will be more likely to intervene on the side of the rebels and simultaneously less likely to intervene on behalf of the government. Rare-events logit and split population (mixture-cure) survival models, in conjunction with close attention to the mechanisms found in individual cases, offer support for the theoretical argument. This paper advances our understanding of the motivations for intervention into civil war by highlighting the largely neglected role of economic factors in motivating opposition-biased interventions. It further adds insights into the role of natural resources in civil wars by shifting emphasis away from domestic combatants towards the motives of outside states.

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Profiting from Sanctions: Economic Coercion and US Foreign Direct Investment in Third-Party States

Colin Barry & Katja Kleinberg
International Organization, Fall 2015, Pages 881-912

Abstract:
Scholarship on the determinants of foreign direct investment (FDI) flows has produced valuable insights into the role of host state characteristics and home-host relations. This study draws attention to another factor in investment decisions-the political and economic relations that home and host states maintain with third-party states. More narrowly, we focus on how investors respond to their home-state's imposition of economic sanctions against a trading partner. Greater economic integration has allowed states to use economic sanctions more frequently in recent decades. At the same time, economic sanctions are thought to have a distorting effect on global trade and financial flows as firms and governments adjust to new constraints. We argue that as firms at home in the sanctioning state respond to coercive measures against a trading partner by looking for alternative sources of profit, they will shift investments to states that can provide indirect access to the sanctioned economy. In particular, those states that are perceived as prospective sanctions-busters - major trading partners of the sanctions target or states with a history of sanctions-busting behavior - will benefit disproportionately from the misfortune of others. We test this conjecture using data on US economic sanctions and global flows of US FDI from 1966 to 2000. The findings reveal that investor decision making in part responds to political developments beyond the home-host dyad.


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