Does Domestic Polarization Affect the Credibility of International Commitment?

35 Pages Posted: 25 Feb 2011

See all articles by Jong Hee Park

Jong Hee Park

University of Chicago - Department of Political Science

Kentaro Hirose

University of Chicago - Department of Political Science

Date Written: February 25, 2011

Abstract

We study the effect of the partisan polarization of foreign policy on a state’s ability to make credible commitments in international bargaining. In our model, both states know that after an agreement is reached, a new government to enforce the agreement is elected within a promise-making state. The incentive for the newly elected government to comply with the agreement depends on the domestic (partisan) and international (reputational) costs of noncompliance, both of which vary across parties. The equilibrium analysis shows that an agreement is less likely as a partisan divide increases. When a partisan divide is substantial, our model shows that the possibility of reaching an agreement is larger under a hawkish negotiator than a dovish negotiator. Episodes from the negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program provide support for our theory.

Keywords: Party polarization, commitment problem, reputational sanction, nuclear weapons program

Suggested Citation

Park, Jong Hee and Hirose, Kentaro, Does Domestic Polarization Affect the Credibility of International Commitment? (February 25, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1769383 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1769383

Jong Hee Park (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Department of Political Science ( email )

Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Kentaro Hirose

University of Chicago - Department of Political Science ( email )

Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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