Review of Why Leaders Fight
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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...
- Chiozza, G. and Goemans, H.E. (2004) International conflict and the tenure of leaders: Is war still ex post inefficient? American Journal of Political Science 48(3), 604–619.Google Scholar