Nasty or nice? Political systems, endogenous norms, and the treatment of adversaries

Bruce Bueno De Mesquita, Randolph M. Siverson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    A large amount of recent research points to the importance of domestic political institutions in shaping foreign policy, most of it turning on the distinction between democratic and nondemocratic regimes. However, fundamental characteristics differentiate regime types beyond the distinction between democratic and nondemocratic. Drawing a distinction between institutional differences that result from variation in the sizes of selectorates and winning coalitions, the authors consider the effect that regime type has on the prospects that a foreign leader will be removed from office following a military defeat, be it in a war or some lesser level of violence. The authors show that the distinction, now common in the literature, between democratic and nondemocratic regimes is not adequate for understanding the linkages between domestic and foreign affairs. A model is presented from which nine hypotheses are derived. A preliminary test of one hypothesis is presented, the results of which are consistent with the expectation that regimes, and consequently their leaders, will be the issue of conflict when power differences are great and the winning state has either a large winning coalition or a small selectorate.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)175-199
    Number of pages25
    JournalJournal of Conflict Resolution
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Feb 1997

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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