International Politics Reviews

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 35–38 | Cite as

Review of Why Leaders Fight

Michael C. Horowitz, Allan C. Stam, and Cali M. Ellis, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015, ISBN 9781107655676
  • Jeff Carter
Book Review

The increased theoretical and empirical attention to the influence of political leaders is arguably the most important development in international conflict scholarship during the last 20 years. The basic idea underlying this trend in the literature is straightforward: decisions are not made by governments, regimes, or states, but by leaders. Most of this leader-centric research focuses on how incumbents’ desire to remain in power and domestic political institutions shape the initiation, escalation, prosecution, and/or termination of interstate conflict (e.g., Bueno De Mesquita et al., 1999, Chiozza and Goemans, 2004, Croco, 2011). This scholarship typically assumes that all leaders will make the same decision, holding the political context constant. Framed differently, most systematic research on political leaders and interstate conflict argues leaders are key to understanding questions of war and peace, but assumes who the particular leaders are in a given case is irrelevant to its...


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of MississippiUniversityUSA

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