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date: 19 October 2019

Summary and Keywords

A significant shift has taken place within the study of international relations (IR) generally, and within the domestic-international conflict linkage literature specifically. This shift has helped to address a number of important weaknesses that used to be observed within the literature on the domestic sources of foreign policy. Initially, political science was largely focused on macrostructural analyses of “political systems” and institutions (understood as formal-legal documents and rules). The research that eschewed the paradigmatic separation of domestic and international politics had a strong macrostructural bent to it, rather than a theoretical focus on microfoundations and causal processes. The field later went through a “behavioral revolution,” which brought an emphasis on data collection, hypothesis testing, statistical inference, and a focus on political behavior (especially as recorded in survey research). Hence, in recent years, much more emphasis has been placed on examining the precise microfoundations for how domestic politics might affect international relations, and vice-versa. The contemporary literature that earlier scholars have called the “domestic-international nexus” is largely engaged in debates about five important causal processes, each of which is best understood as being caused by strategic interaction among utility maximizing actors: principal-agent dynamics, informational asymmetries and uncertainty in bargaining situations, signaling, credibility, and coalition politics.

Keywords: domestic-international conflict linkage literature, macrostructural analyses, microfoundations, causal processes, behavioral revolution, domestic politics, domestic-international nexus

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