Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Accountability and International Conflict
by Ramirez, Shawn Ling, Ph.D., University of Rochester, 2013, 283; 3600457
Abstract (Summary)

I explore the relationship between domestic accountability and international conflict in three essays. First, the current literature focuses on leaders and how domestic accountability affects international crises. Since power sharing institutionalizes accountability for the political elite, and not simply the leader, I develop a model to show how power sharing underlies whether leaders can signal resolve credibly to foreign enemies. My statistical analysis shows two main results: first, power sharing underlies common expectations about democracy and war. Second, regardless of whether a government is a democracy or a dictatorship war propensity turns on the degree to which the power is shared.

My second essay asks how accountability affects peace through mediation. I create a formal model to show that when leaders face the threat of accountability, the confidentiality and agenda-setting in mediation—by fostering uncertainty within the domestic public—provide leaders with the diplomatic flexibility to sign for peace and avoid domestic backlash. Further, the model demonstrates how the public can benefit: peace is more likely, and if mediation breaks down, the public is more likely to win in ensuing wars. I draw from field work to illustrate how diplomatic flexibility arose in the longstanding conflict between Ecuador and Peru and allowed for a peaceful and publicly-supported settlement in 1998. I test several implications of my theory statistically to uncover whether domestic accountability and uncertainty generated in mediation affect mediation occurrence, success, and the political fate of leaders.

In my third essay, I ask how the ability for a leader to negotiate with enemies in secret affects war. I contrast two models—one of public and one of secret diplomacy—to show the effects of secrecy on leader behavior, negotiated bargains, and the likelihood of war. My results show that surprisingly leaders will always stand firm behind closed doors. However this hawkish stance involves trade-offs for the public: settlements may involve greater concessions, and sometimes, but not always, war is more likely. I develop implications for bilateral crisis bargaining and for the effect of increased transparency on peace and stability in the international system.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Goemans, Hein E.
Commitee: Caetano, Gregorio, Fey, Mark, Helmke, Gretchen
School: University of Rochester
Department: Arts and Sciences
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 75/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: International Relations, Political science
Keywords: Accountability, Audience costs, Bargaining, International conflict, Mediation, Power sharing, Secrecy, War
Publication Number: 3600457
ISBN: 978-1-303-50562-1
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