Reputation in Deterrence and Decision-Making
- Vesna Danilovic, Vesna DanilovicDepartment of Political Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York
- Joe ClareJoe ClareDepartment of Political Science, Louisiana State University
- and Colin TuckerColin TuckerDepartment of Political Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York
Reputation in the context of international relations is an actor’s attribute as assessed by others from its past behavior. Interest in how reputational concerns can affect the dynamics of conflict arose in the canonical works by Schelling and the subsequent wave of deterrence research. Concerned primarily with the Cold War strategic issues, with some exceptions such as Huth who in 1988 analyzed it in the broader historical scope, scholarly attention to the role of reputation declined in the immediate post-Cold War period only to resurge in the 21st century. The last two decades witnessed a renaissance that resulted in unpacking the notion of reputation into several types and examining its influence in a number of areas, ranging from deterrence, compellence, to other types of militarized conflicts, civil wars, alliance choices, and sanctions, as well as issues of compliance with international commitments in institutional and cooperative studies. In such richness of research, the role of reputation in deterrence and strategic conflict in general, where it originated, still draws the largest amount of research as well as controversies. Besides several different conceptual and theoretical approaches, especially in the rationalist and psychological literature, there is methodological diversity as well, encompassing formal-theoretic models, large-N quantitative analyses, and survey experiments.