author={James D. Fearon},
  journal={American Political Science Review},
  • J. Fearon
  • Published 1994
  • Economics
  • American Political Science Review
International crises are modeled as a political “war of attrition†in which state leaders choose at each moment whether to attack, back down, or escalate. A leader who backs down suffers audience costs that increase as the public confrontation proceeds. Equilibrium analysis shows how audience costs enable leaders to learn an adversary's true preferences concerning settlement versus war and thus whether and when attack is rational. The model also generates strong comparative statics results… Expand
Conflict resolution: role of strategic communication, reputation and audience costs
This paper investigates roles of strategic communication, reputation and au- dience costs in crises bargaining, which is modeled as a continuous-time war of attrition game between two players (e.g.,Expand
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Scholars of international relations usually argue that democracies are better able to signal their foreign policy intentions than nondemocracies, in part because democracies have an advantage inExpand
Audience Costs and the Dynamics of War and Peace
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Domestic Audiences and Strategic Interests
  • Joe Clare
  • Political Science
  • The Journal of Politics
  • 2007
A number of recent studies assumes that international threats issued by democratic states are more credible because their leaders face domestic punishment for failing to carry them out. Yet thisExpand
Domestic Audience Costs in International Relations: An Experimental Approach
What makes international threats credible? Recent theories point to domestic audience costs—the domestic price a leader would pay for making foreign threats and then backing down. This articleExpand
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A large literature in political science takes for granted that democratic leaders would pay substantial domestic political costs for failing to carry out the public threats they make in internationalExpand
Circumstances, Domestic Audiences, and Reputational Incentives in International Crisis Bargaining
We present a new theory of interstate crisis bargaining. A country’s resolve is a function of intrinsic qualities of the government and external circumstances, both of which are unknown by theExpand
An Opportunity for Backing Down: Looking for an Electoral Connection to Audience Costs
Abstract This paper explores the time-inconsistency problem of audience costs in international disputes. The nature of democracy makes it difficult for leaders to back down from earlier diplomaticExpand


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Analyses of military strategy often overlook its political consequences—its effect on the adversary's basic goals and understanding of the defender's resolve. As a result, they prescribe the wrongExpand
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Scholars increasingly are accepting the empirical generalization that democracies almost never go to war with each other, and infrequently even engage in militarized disputes with each other. It hasExpand
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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall...
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A natural approach to understanding the tendencies of nations to enter or avoid wars is through the study of national decision making in international crises. Recent game-theoretic models of nationalExpand
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The heartbreaking plight in which a bipolarized and atom bomb-blessed world finds itself today is but the extreme manifestation of a dilemma with which human societies have had to grapple since theExpand
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Abstract Often a bargainer can use some form of power—legal, military, or political—to impose a settlement. How does the “outside” option of being able to impose a settlement, albeit at some cost,Expand
History and strategy
This work is a powerful demonstration of how historical analysis can be brought to bear on the study of strategic issues, and, conversely, how strategic thinking can help drive historical research.Expand