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ISBN:
9781910259191
Type:
Hardback
Publication Date: 22 March 2024
Page Extent: 250
Series: Studies in European Political Science
Buy Hardback from Amazon

Hawks and Doves

The Flawed Microfoundations of Democratic Peace Theory

By Femke E Bakker

On the brink of war, what influences decision-makers to attack another country?

Using innovative theoretical angles, Femke Bakker explores whether the basic assumptions of democratic peace theory are indeed correct. She stresses the microfoundations of conflict, questioning the assumptions on which democratic peace theory relies. To find out whether decision-makers from liberal democracies really are influenced by their state’s democratic institutions and liberal norms, Bakker argues, we should compare them with decision-makers in other regime types.

Her ambitious mixed-methods design involves experiments with approximately 750 students in China, Russia, and the US; an analysis of data on liberal norms from the World Values Survey; and a case study on the Falklands conflict. Taking a micro-level, actor-based approach to empirically investigate the theoretical foundations of democratic peace, Bakker delivers a fascinating analysis that is likely to prove hugely influential in the field.

doi:10.61675/QEWO9923

A masterful scientific debunking of the liberal myth. If you want to know what we do not know about the democratic peace, read this book! -- Dirk De Bièvre, University of Antwerp

Bakker’s book offers fresh insights on the microfoundations of international relations and on the importance of leaders. It challenges the very core of democratic peace theory’s causal mechanisms, and establishes the importance of hawkishness as a critical factor in individual-level threat perception. The book contributes greatly to our understanding of leader psychology, foreign policy, and international politics. -- Juliet Kaarbo, University of Edinburgh

Focusing on the microfoundations of democratic peace theory, this book examines how the decision makers involved are likely to perceive threat and its sources in decisions to go to war. Using an innovative experimental design and American, Russian, and Chinese students as decision makers, the author finds, contrary to expectation, it is not liberal norms that shape decision makers’ choices but how hawkish they are to start with. The results challenge democratic peace theory as currently constructed. -- Margaret G. Hermann, Maxwell School, Syracuse University

Femke E Bakker studies politics and international relations from a political-psychological perspective. Her research interests include the microfoundations of democratic peace theory, political leadership, belief systems, stress-management for crisis decision-makers, and the impact of meditation on political behaviour. She teaches in the fields of political psychology, international relations and research methods.

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