UC San Diego
Leaders, Audiences, and the Use of Force
- Author(s): Merrell, Brandon Cole
- Advisor(s): Lake, David A
- Slantchev, Branislav L
- et al.
I examine three strategic tradeoffs between political accountability and violence. First, I argue that leaders who are accountable to their citizens may face domestic pressure to participate in risky and costly wars. Second, I show how countries can benefit from concealing their development of new military technology, whereas war can result when such efforts become publicly known. Finally, I demonstrate that citizens in fragile and under-institutionalized societies can deter their governments from engaging in abusive behavior, but these constraints on sovereign authority may come at the risk of domestic violence or instability. I support the findings with a combination of analytic theory, quantitative data, and qualitative case studies.