Domestic explanations of international relations

Bruce Bueno De Mesquita, Alastair Smith

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


    Theories that link domestic politics, domestic institutional structures, and leader incentives to foreign affairs have flowered in the past 25 years or so. By unpacking institutional variation across states and by drawing attention to agency issues between leaders, key backers, and citizens, models and empirical studies of linkage help explain even such fundamental phenomena between states as war and peace. In addition, theories of linkage politics explain phenomena not envisioned under earlier unitary-actor state models. We address how the linkage literature explains war and peace decisions, the democratic peace, nation building, foreign aid, and economic sanctions by tying international politics and foreign policy to domestic political considerations.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)161-181
    Number of pages21
    JournalAnnual Review of Political Science
    StatePublished - Jun 15 2012


    • audience costs
    • democratic peace
    • foreign aid
    • nation building
    • principal-agent
    • sanctions
    • selectorate theory

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science


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