Solving the Decider’s Dilemma: Scapegoats, Foreign Affairs, and the Duration of Interstate War

Alejandro Quiroz Flores, Hanna Bäck, Alexander von Hagen-Jamar, Jan Teorell

Research output: Working paper/PreprintWorking paper

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Abstract

The prospects of domestic punishment might compel leaders responsible for the initiation of the war to continue fighting until they achieve favorable war outcomes (Croco 2011, 2015). As applied to war duration, this logic implies that ‘culpable’ leaders do not have incentives to end a war that will bring defeat. This paper argues that leaders can escape this dilemma by blaming and replacing their cabinet ministers for poor war results. Under a framework of war as a bargaining process, and using a database of the tenure of thousands of ministers of foreign affairs, this paper shows that the replacement of these cabinet ministers reduces the duration of interstate wars that end in defeat. These findings suggest that leaders do not necessarily need to continue fighting wars in order to avoid domestic punishment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages1-26
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Dec

Publication series

NameSTANCE Working Papers Series
No.11
Volume2017

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Political Science

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