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The Politics of Risking Peace: Do Hawks or Doves Deliver the Olive Branch?

  • Kenneth A. Schultz (a1)


This article explores the politics of risking international cooperation with a distrusted adversary. It develops a model in which two states attempt to learn over the course of two periods whether or not mutual cooperation is possible given their (initially unknown) preferences. In one of the states, the government is engaged in domestic political competition with an opposition party. One party is known to have more hawkish preferences than the other, on average, and voters must decide which party to elect after observing the international interaction in the first period. The model shows that, when trust is low but continued conflict is costly, cooperation is most likely to be initiated by a moderate hawk—a leader with moderate preferences from the more hawkish party. Moreover, while dovish leaders are better at eliciting cooperation in the short run, mutual cooperation is most likely to endure if it was initiated by a hawk. Some empirical implications and illustrations of the model are discussed.I gratefully acknowledge thoughtful comments received from Andrew Kydd, James Morrow, Brett Ashley Leeds, T. Clifton Morgan, Kenneth Scheve, Deborah Larson, Bruce Russett, Alex Mintz, and the anonymous reviewers. An earlier version of this article was presented at the 43rd annual meeting of the International Studies Association, March 2002.



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