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Domestic Politics and U.S. Foreign Policy: A Study of Cold War Conflict Behavior

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This study reexamines an empirical claim that is broadly accepted in international relations: during the Cold War U.S. foreign policy belligerence was influenced strongly by domestic factors. We develop a rational expectations theory that produces hypotheses that are at odds with that result. We test our hypotheses and report findings that are both consistent with our rational expectations theory and inconsistent with the “domestic effects” hypothesis. We thus conclude that international politics, rather than domestic politics, was the primary determinant of U.S. foreign policy behavior during the Cold War.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2003

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