The Domestic Sources of International Reputation

Existing research finds that leaders develop international reputations based on their past behavior on the international stage. We argue that leaders’ domestic choices can also influence their international reputations, perhaps as much as their past foreign policy decisions do. Using formal theory and intuitive argumentation, we develop an overarching framework to predict how much any domestic choice will affect a leader’s international reputation. We theorize that certain domestic choices can inform expectations about future international crisis behavior based on the extent to which (1) the costs at stake are similar to those of an international crisis and (2) the domestic issue is salient relative to foreign policy. We use conjoint experiments and other evidence to show that many domestic choices have significant international reputational effects. There is some evidence that the reputational effect of certain domestic choices may equal that of fighting in a previous international crisis.

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License CC BY
Type Journal Articles
C-ID POLS 140 - IR