Regime Type, Balance of Capabilities, and Level of Escalation in International Crisis Bargaining

Qiu, Xiaoyan, Foreign Affairs - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Sechser, Todd, Department of Politics, University of Virginia
Kropko, Jonathan, Department of Politics, University of Virginia

The existence and meaningful influence of audience costs in international crisis bargaining have been hotly contested. Instead of crisis outcome, this article focuses on actor behavior in crisis bargaining, and explores the interactive effects of regime type and observable balance of capabilities on target’s escalatory behavior. This article finds out that democratic states are more cautious in target selection, and do select themselves into crises they are more likely to prevail on the basis of observable balance of capabilities. Also, the direction and degree of regime type’s influence on target’s escalation as well as crisis outcome are context dependent and vary across different degrees of balance of capabilities. Audience costs do exist and significantly influence international crisis bargaining, but its role is far more complex than previously theorized and tested. My findings suggest that audience costs generation is more of a strategic choice than a pure invariable attribute.

MA (Master of Arts)
audience costs, international crisis, power, democratic credibility
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