The Handbook on the Political Economy of War
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The Handbook on the Political Economy of War

Edited by Christopher J. Coyne and Rachel L. Mathers

By defining political economy and war in the broadest sense, this unique Handbook brings together a wide range of interdisciplinary scholars from economics, political science, sociology, and policy studies to address a multitude of important topics. These include an analysis of why wars begin, how wars are waged, what happens after war has ceased, and the various alternatives to war. Other sections explore civil war and revolution, the arms trade, economic and political systems, and post-conflict reconstruction and nation building. Policymakers as well as academics and students of political science, economics, public policy and sociology will find this volume to be an engaging and enlightening read.
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Chapter 16: International Conflict and Leadership Tenure

Randall J. Blimes


Randall J. Blimes 16.1 INTRODUCTION For the last several decades, neorealist approaches to explaining international relations have been at the forefront of academic research. These approaches make the assumption that domestic politics is irrelevant to explaining foreign policy patterns because the anarchic nature of the international system constrains all states to act alike, regardless of variation in domestic-level factors. More recently, this approach has come under intense scrutiny and more and more scholars, notably those writing in the liberal tradition, have begun to argue that variation in domestic institutions plays a large role in explaining variation in foreign policy. Research areas such as the dyadic democratic peace and the diversionary theory of war, for example, have suggested that leaders take domestic preferences and opinions into account in forming foreign policy. However, while research along these lines has been both productive and plentiful, there is still a great deal of theoretic and empirical disagreement about exactly how and why domestic politics matters. This chapter focuses on exploring the relationship between international conflict and leadership tenure. Broadly defined, this subject encompasses some of the most fruitful and important literatures within international relations study. I divide the research done on conflict and leadership tenure into two categories. The first category is what I refer to as “indirect” analysis. This body of research views leadership tenure as a cause of international conflict. It asks such questions as: do leaders use war as an instrument to increase domestic support and make their tenure more secure...

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