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War and Democratic ConstraintHow the Public Influences Foreign Policy$
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Matthew A. Baum and Philip B. K. Potter

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691164984

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691164984.001.0001

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Looking for Audience Costs in All the Wrong Places: Constraint and Reciprocation

Looking for Audience Costs in All the Wrong Places: Constraint and Reciprocation

(p.86) 4 Looking for Audience Costs in All the Wrong Places: Constraint and Reciprocation
War and Democratic Constraint

Matthew A. Baum

Philip B. K. Potter

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the question of domestic audience costs. For leaders to generate credibility through audience costs, there must be mechanisms in place that enable citizens to learn about foreign policy failures in a timely and consistent way. Institutional variation among democracies has important implications for the extent to which citizens can obtain such information. The chapter shows that the number of electorally viable political parties in a country, conditional on relatively widespread public access to media, has a substantial impact on credibility in international interactions. That is, states possessing these attributes fare better—in terms of avoiding conflict reciprocation—when they issue threats or initiate conflicts.

Keywords:   audience costs, leaders, credibility, foreign policy, information, political parties, media, conflict reciprocation, threats, conflicts

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