Democracies Under Fire: How Democratic Targets and Allies Respond to Coercive Threats

Author: ORCID icon
Scroggs, Matt, Foreign Affairs - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Sechser, Todd, Department of Politics, University of Virginia
Owen, John, Department of Politics, University of Virginia
Copeland, Dale, Department of Politics, University of Virginia
Potter, Philip, Department of Politics, University of Virginia
Stam, Allan, Frank Batten School of Leadership & Public Policy, University of Virginia

When do states concede to coercive threats? While the majority of research has focused on the states initiating these challenges, comparatively little attention has been given to the targets, the states that actually face the choice of whether to stand firm or back down. My project examines the role that a target's regime-type, broadly construed as democratic versus non-democratic states, plays in the decision-making process, arguing that democracies are more likely to concede when threatened due to the higher costs they pay for foreign policy failure and the relative ease that challengers have in identifying whether democracies are vulnerable to coercion. Further, my argument also extends to the role of democratic allies, who are less reliable when threats of violence are employed against their protégés. I employ statistical evidence with data from the Militarized Compellent Threat (MCT) and Threat and Imposition of Economic Sanctions (TIES) datasets to show the broad validity of my claims, as well as in-depth case studies, namely the Munich and Suez Crises, to demonstrate how my theory works in practice.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
coercion, democracy, alliances
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