War, Performance and the Survival of Foreign Ministers

Research output: Working paper


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.


External organisations
  • University of Essex
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

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


  • foreign ministers, foreign policy, policy outcomes, survival of leaders, war onset, 19th century, historical data, Sweden, Austria, Prussia, Germany, USA, UK
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLund
PublisherDepartment of Political Science, Lund University
Number of pages29
Publication statusPublished - 2016 May
Publication categoryResearch

Publication series

NameSTANCE Working Paper Series

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The Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation: Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Science Research


Project: ResearchInternal collaboration (LU)

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