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How are Foreign Policy Attitudes Structured? A Hierarchical Model

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 August 2014

Jon Hurwitz
University of Pittsburgh
Mark Peffley
University of Kentucky


It has long been assumed that foreign-policy attitudes of the mass public are random, disorganized, and unconstrained if they exist at all. Further, foreign-policy thinking has not been found to be structured along standard ideological (liberal-conservative) lines, partisan lines, or class lines. We attempt to move the discussion from a question of whether foreign-policy attitudes are structured to a question of how they are structured. We propose and estimate (using a LISREL model) a hierarchically organized foreign-policy belief structure in which specific policy preferences are derived from postures (broad, abstract beliefs regarding appropriate general governmental strategies). These postures, in turn, are assumed to be constrained by a set of core values about the international community.

Copyright © American Political Science Association 1987

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