Democratic Inefficiency? Regime Type and Suboptimal Choices in International Politics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines the relationship between regime type and decision makers' tendency to make suboptimal choices in international crises. To test hypotheses on the optimality of democratic foreign policy, the author uses a novel statistical measure of suboptimality in foreign policy behavior. This estimator builds on Signorino's statistical strategic models to allow for actor-level variation in deviations from optimal behavior in a strategic setting. An analysis of the international disputes from 1919 to 1999 shows that democratic leaders have a greater tendency to choose policies not optimal for their citizens than do nondemocratic leaders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)799-824
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Conflict Resolution
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • heteroskedasticity
  • interstate conflict
  • strategic models
  • suboptimal choices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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