Audience Costs

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Department
International Affairs
Course
INR 4083
Professor
Brian Crisher
Semester
Spring

Description
Audience Costs 02/18/2014 The Puzzle Give incentives to misrepresent how can states involved in a dispute rationally reach the conclusion that the  opponent would prefer war to backing down? If it is costly for states to back down from a threat—they will be less likely to bluff Costly Signals This language of coercion deals with how to signal resolve Costly Signals: Tying hands: increasing the costs of “backing down” Audience costs Audience Costs Crises occur in public Domestic and International audiences can see what is occurring “states resort to the risky and provocative actions that characterize crises…because less­public diplomacy  may not allow them credibly to reveal their won preferences concerning international interests or to learn  those of other states” As long as cost of war is less than audience costs, you will go to war (if benefits of war outweigh the costs  of backing down) Audience Costs▯ The costs a leader incurs by backing down from a public threat The more effect the polity is at punishing the leader, the better able the state can signal resolve In other words, there must be some cost imposed on a leader that backs down in order to communicate  resolve **Domestic Regimes matter Which leaders are you more likely to believe makes credible threats?? Obama versus North Korea president? Theoretical Argument Threats “engage the national honor” The public cares about reputation and anything that can tarnish that So if a leader backs down after making a threat, the national reputation is harmed What is so special about democracy in this story? Vocal opposition: opposition parties love to capitalize on mistakes Leaders can be removed relatively easily Regular elections Leaders protect international reputation because of domestic audiences Democracies are just inherently more transparent Implications from Audience Costs Democracies should be less likely to bluff If a democracy makes a threat—believe it  Non­democracies will have trouble sending costly signals If a democracy makes a threat, will the other state be more or less likely to back down? Why? Autocratic Audience Costs Weeks (2008) Three factors contr
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