A game of domestic imperatives: Audience costs and conflict avoidance

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    I propose an audience costs game with considerations added from selectorate theory. We see that winning coalition and selectorate size have competing effects on conflict choices in an audience costs setting. Large coalition regimes face lower audience costs than non-democracies, making it harder for them to commit to war. But larger selectorates increase the value of office, making conflict escalation more attractive. Coalition effects dominate when interacted with selectorate size. Evidence from 1816–2014 supports the game's implications. The results indicate that both threat initiation and dispute resolution are better predicted by focusing on domestic, leader-specific variables.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)599-618
    Number of pages20
    JournalConflict Management and Peace Science
    Issue number6
    StatePublished - Nov 2023


    • Audience costs
    • autocracy
    • democracy
    • selectorate theory
    • threats

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Economics and Econometrics
    • Political Science and International Relations


    Dive into the research topics of 'A game of domestic imperatives: Audience costs and conflict avoidance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this