Leadership Turnover and Foreign Policy Change: Societal Interests, Domestic Institutions, and Voting in the United Nations

37 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 7 Jan 2020

See all articles by Royce Carroll

Royce Carroll

University of Essex - Department of Government

Brett Ashley Leeds

Rice University - Department of Political Science

Michaela Mattes

Vanderbilt University

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

This study examines the effect of changes in domestic sources of leader support and domestic political institutions on patterns of UN voting. We argue that foreign policy change is most likely when a new leader comes to power who relies on a different core set of societal interests for support than her predecessor. We also argue that the extent to which foreign policy behavior changes with the domestic interests with access to power depends on domestic political institutions; democratic political institutions should increase foreign policy consistency, even in areas of foreign policy that are considered to be primarily expressive. We test our hypotheses using a new measure of UN voting patterns and new data on changes in leaders’ domestic supporting coalitions. In the preliminary analysis presented here (which covers the years 1985-2008), we find that democracies do experience less change over time in UN voting patterns than non-democracies, but changes in a democratic leader’s base of societal support does lead to increased change in UN voting. Non-democracies exhibit more change in UN voting overall, and in our preliminary analysis, we do not find evidence of linkage to change in a leader’s base of domestic support within non-democracies.

Keywords: United Nations, Foreign Policy, Domestic Politics, Leadership Change

Suggested Citation

Carroll, Royce and Leeds, Brett Ashley and Mattes, Michaela, Leadership Turnover and Foreign Policy Change: Societal Interests, Domestic Institutions, and Voting in the United Nations (2010). APSA 2010 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1642416

Royce Carroll

University of Essex - Department of Government ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester CO4 3SQ, CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

Brett Ashley Leeds (Contact Author)

Rice University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Houston, TX 77005-1892
United States
713-348-3037 (Phone)

Michaela Mattes

Vanderbilt University ( email )

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