Export Similarity and International Conflict

In this paper (co-authored with Tyson Chatagnier) we focus on international trade’s potential to create tension between states that sell similar goods to the global market. We create measures of export competition using commodity-level trade data from 1962-2000 and test their effects on the probability of international crises. We find that countries that produce and sell similar goods are generally more likely to fight. This paper is forthcoming at the Journal of Conflict Resolution. [Link to Paper] [Replication Materials]


Leader Comebacks

Why are some leaders able to make a comeback after losing office? I argue that military victories and high economic growth help by signaling leader competence, but whether they matter also depends on the regime type. Especially in parliamentary regimes there are few structural obstacles to leader comebacks, which means that those leaders who performed well in the past are able to return to office. Statistical analyses on leaders between 1875-2001 support the theory.


Turkish Foreign Aid: 1990-2014

Turkey has become one of the largest new aid donors with an annual aid budget approaching $1 billion. This paper analyzes the determinants of Turkish aid between 1990-2014. It shows that countries that are poor, ethnically Turkic, geographically close and friends of Turkey at the UN General Assembly have always gotten more aid from Turkey. However, after the AKP’s rise to power in 2002 Turkey began to give more (humanitarian) aid to Muslim nations and more (economic) aid to its trade partners, while the importance of ethnic similarity and geographic distance somewhat diminished.


Reassessing Leader Motivations for War: Domestic Agenda Control
I propose a theory in which war results from leaders’ incentives to raise the salience of foreign affairs in domestic politics. Since national leaders manage several issue areas, citizens strongly value foreign policy competence only if there is a high chance of future conflict. For this reason, an incumbent who is more competent in foreign policy can benefit from rejecting diplomatic solutions and prolonging international disputes. Citizens re-elect the incumbent since the probability of future conflict is high. In contrast to the existing competence-signaling models of war, my theory and the accompanying quantitative analyses show that the most belligerent type of leader is one whose competence in foreign policy is already well-known.

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