Still Looking for Audience Costs
Security Studies, 2012
9 Pages Posted: 26 Jul 2012 Last revised: 20 Oct 2012
Date Written: July 26, 2012
A pair of recent studies, motivated largely by limitations in the research designs of previous projects, offers evidence the authors interpret as contradicting audience cost theory. Although we share the authors’ ambivalence about audience costs, we are not convinced by their evidence. What one seeks in looking for audience costs is evidence of a causal mechanism, not just of a causal effect. Historical case studies can be better suited to detecting causal mechanisms than quantitative methods, and these two studies claim to be examining causal mechanisms. Yet process tracing is much less effective in assessing audience costs than Trachtenberg and others believe. After outlining relevant problems, we encourage scholars to theorize about and test more carefully key micro-foundations of audience cost theory.
Keywords: International Conflict, Audience Costs
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