War, Performance and the Survival of Foreign Ministers

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

Research output: Working paper/PreprintWorking paper

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Are foreign ministers punished for their performance in office, or when the country loses a war? The literature has increasingly recognized the importance of individual leaders when explaining foreign policy outcomes. Several scholars have focused on the survival of leaders as an important predictor of war onset, which has created an interest in predicting the survival of heads of governments. We contribute to this literature by shifting the focus to the survival of other important politicians in cabinet – foreign ministers. We hypothesize that the survival of foreign ministers depends on their performance in office, and that they are less likely to survive when there is a high level of conflict or after the country loses an armed conflict. We also hypothesize that the tenures of foreign ministers with a military, diplomatic or political background, are less affected by the conflict situation. We evaluate and find support for several of our hypotheses using original historical data (during the “long 19th century”) on foreign ministers’ background and reasons for leaving office for five countries with very different experiences with conflict and war; Austria, Prussia/Germany, Sweden, the UK, and the US.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLund
PublisherDepartment of Political Science, Lund University
Number of pages29
Publication statusPublished - 2016 May

Publication series

NameSTANCE Working Paper Series

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)

Free keywords

  • foreign ministers
  • foreign policy
  • policy outcomes
  • survival of leaders
  • war onset
  • 19th century
  • historical data
  • Sweden
  • Austria
  • Prussia
  • Germany
  • USA
  • UK


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