POLI 142K Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Austria-Hungary, Balkan Wars, World War I

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8 Sep 2015
Poli Sci 142K
Politics and Warfare
Spring 2015
Institutional Explanations for W.W.I
Week 3, Friday, April 17th
I. Institutional Explanations of WWI
a. Domestic Institutions
i. Presence of a War State
1. Germany as a War State or War Starter
ii. Institutional constraints on elites
1. Ability to launch destructive, destabilizing policies
2. Over-reaction
3. Ability to discount domestic pressure
iii. Institutional constraints
1. Institutional instability
a. Russia, Austria Hungary
2. Parliaments and War Credits
3. Public opinion or audience costs
II. International levels/factors
a. Presence or absence of international bargaining institutions (networks of
i. International networks of negotiation
1. Balkan wars
2. Colonial rivalry
3. Trade and finance
a. Gold standard
ii. Signaling of credible commitments and enforceability of bargains
1. 1815-1871 peace treaties and agreements
III. Austria-Hungary and the Deterrence of Russian Mobilization if Serbia is
a. Austria-Hungary signals localization of conflict (to Balkans)
b. Active deterrence—threats and bribes
c. Is this a signal or a credible commitment?
i. To be credible, Russia must believe
1. Austria-Hungary will accept a strategic threat through
partial mobilization
2. And Germany will do nothing
ii. Cheap talk or incomplete information
d. If Russia has complete information regarding Austria-Hungary’s
preferences, the problem is that partial, as opposed to total (general)
mobilization triggers general war
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