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Interests, Institutions, and Foreign Policy Change

February 8 @ 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

Join us for a colloquium by Dr. Brett Ashley Leeds, where she will be presenting on her paper “Interests, Institutions, and Foreign Policy Change.” This colloquium is presented by the Global Security Research Hub.

Abstract: This paper draws from a larger book project on how domestic and international factors interact to produce foreign policy continuity and change. Our theory suggests that foreign policy change is influenced by three factors: (1) the interests of the core societal supporting coalition of a leader; (2) the domestic political institutions that govern leadership selection and rules for policymaking; and (3) the extent to which past commitments have been embodied in international law or have been pursued in conjunction with international institutions. Our book takes advantage of our newly collected CHISOLS (Change in Source of Leader Support) dataset to measure domestic political change. In the book, we examine the relationship between changes in domestic political interests with access to power, domestic political institutions, and foreign policy change in a number of areas that vary in the level of international and domestic constraints, including UN General Assembly voting, economic sanctions, trade, and alliance termination. We present selections from our empirical work and discuss the conclusions we reach in the book about the domestic basis of foreign policy, the policy consistency of democracies, and the role of international agreements and institutions in constraining policy change.

Brett Ashley Leeds is Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Department of Political Science at Rice University. She serves as President of the International Studies Association during 2017-18. Professor Leeds’s research focuses on the design and effects of international agreements, and also on connections between domestic politics and foreign policy. Much of her work has concentrated on the area of security cooperation, and particularly military alliances. Her work has been published in such journals as American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, International Organization, and International Studies Quarterly. In 2008, she was awarded the Karl Deutsch Award by the International Studies Association, which is presented annually to a scholar in International Relations under age 40, or within ten years of defending his or her dissertation, who is judged to have made, through a body of publications, the most significant contribution to the study of International Relations and Peace Research.


February 8
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
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Global Security Hub


Orfalea Center Conference Room
Girvetz Hall, University of California Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106 United States
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