Work in Progress

  • "International Reputation with Changing Resolve."  February, 2016, Sloan School of Mangement working paper. Currently under revision. The role of reputations in international communication and conflict remains hotly debated, with critics arguing that states base their decisions about crisis escalation on the current balance of capabilities and interests (see Press, 2005) rather than on an adversary's reputation.  This paper takes seriously the idea that an adversary's resolve may change between disputes, while arguing that a state's resolve today is correlated with its future resolve. It uses a game theoretic model (closely based on an unpublished paper in economics by Kennan, 1998) to argue that states can acquire reputations in situations of partially persistent resolve, and explains how thinking about resolve as partially persistent changes our understanding of reputations and crisis escalation.
  • When States Speak with Two Voices; Autocratic Civil-Military Relations and International  Conflict (book project). International-relations theory increasingly focuses on the importance of domestic politics in influencing international relations. Nevertheless, our theories mainly have retained in the unitary actor assumption, especially for nondemocratic states, by portraying domestic actors as affecting international politics mainly through their function as "audiences" that reward or punish the top leader for various actions. In practice, however, we often observe persons or organizations other than the top leader taking actions that directly influence the course of international events, including states' entry into militarized international conflict. For example, in 1999, the Pakistani military sent forces across the cease-fire line with India with at best incomplete authorization from the civilian government (Shah, Army and Democracy, Military Politics in Pakistan, page 262). This book explores the impact of civil-military relations on international conflict.
    • "Tug of War; Civil-Military Power Struggles and International Conflict" a working paper from this project, argues that militaries have a particular inclination to raise tensions when civilian governments are trying to consolidate power, and illustrates that argument using the Kargil War case. Please email me if you are interested in this working paper.
  • “Empirical Implications of Bargaining Theory; Expanding the Suite of Models,” January, 2018 working paper, prepared for a special feature journal submission edited by Erik Gartzke and Paul Poast. This paper concludes a special feature on empirical implications of bargaining theory.  It makes three points. First, it argues in favor of adding complexity to the ultimatum model that is the present workhorse of international bargaining theory, which is too simple to elucidate much about leaders' crisis decision making. Second, political scientists often work towards an implicit goal of an uber-theory of some phenomenon of interest, a goal that has been adopted by applied game theorists working on international security. This paper proposes instead that we work instead towards a suite of models, each capturing different aspects of strategic complexity that are crucial to understanding the decisions leaders make that affect the outcome in question.  Finally, the paper argues for choosing the complexities to include based on inductive work, including not just analytic narratives but also statistical work and experiments. It presents a game theoretic model of delay in the Falklands crisis to illustrate the benefists of using real-world information to motivate the choice of complexity. 



Deterrence by Diplomacy. Princeton University Press, September, 2005. Why are countries often able to communicate critical information using diplomacy, despite incentives to bluff? Why are they often able to deter attacks using verbal threats to use force? International-relations theory is largely pessimistic about the prospects for effective diplomacy, yet leaders nevertheless expend a great deal of time and energy trying to resolve conflicts through verbal negotiations and public statements. This book challenges standard approaches to deterrence by studying it as a form of talk. It stresses the importance of reputation and of honesty in establishing effective diplomacy.  The book argues that diplomacy often is effective precisely because it is so valuable.  States take pains to use diplomacy honestly most of the time because doing so allows them to maintain reputations for honesty, which enhance their ability to resolve future disputes using diplomacy rather than force. To do so, however, they pay a cost: they sometimes acquiesce to others' demands when they might have been able to attain their goals through successful bluffs.  The book develops its arguments about effective diplomacy through a game-theoretic argument, illustrates them using a case from the Korean War, and tests the resulting implications using statistical analyses.

Journal Articles

Book Chapters and Shorter Publications

  • "Honesty in Crisis Diplomacy," Diplomat, March 2015.
  • “Selection Bias,” in Bernard Badie, Dirk Berg‐Schlosser, and Leonardo Morlino, eds., International Encyclopedia of Political ScienceSage Publications, 2011.
  • “Who Wants War?” in Gary King, Kay Lehman Schlozman, and Norman Nie, eds. The Future of Political Science: 100 Perspectives, Routledge, 2009.
  • Book review of Trust and Mistrust in International Relations, by Andrew H. Kydd (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005).  Journal of Peace Research 43:3 (May, 2006) 356.
  • The Promise and Perils of Statistics in International Relations” With Bear F. Braumoeller.  Chapter 6 of  Cases, Numbers, Models: International Relations Research Methods, Detlef F. Sprinz and Yael Wolinsky-Nahmias, eds., Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2004, 129-151.