The Benefit of the Doubt: Testing an Informational Theory of the Rally Effect
AbstractIn this article I investigate the apparent tension between liberal theories that highlight the foreign policy benefits of domestic accountability and the observation that the public tends to reflexively support a leader during an international crisis. Previous theories of the process by which the public rallies around their leader tend to highlight the emotional and automatic nature of citizens responses to threats. Using a simple signaling model, I show that the political and operational circumstances that increase the probability of post hoc verification and punishment for privately motivated policy enhance the credibility of a leader s choices and transmit information on the benefits of action to the public. I derive several observable hypotheses from the informational model, linking the costliness of the signal, the presences of divided government, election years, active term limits, political insecurity, changes in freedom of information laws, and trust in government to the size of the rally in the United States. A battery of empirical tests offer strong support for the informational model and suggest that a public rally is a rational response to numerous international crisis circumstances. Observing a rally need not imply an emotional or irrational public.The author would like to thank Eric Chang, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, Henk Goemans, Burt Monroe, Joachim Rennstich, Ken Bickers, Steve Chan, Tom Hammond, and Brian Silver for comments and constructive criticism. Three reviewers and the editorial staff at IO also deserve considerable thanks for contributing to the coherence of the article. As always, the remaining faults solely reflect the faults of the author.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal International Organization.
Volume (Year): 61 (2007)
Issue (Month): 01 (January)
Contact details of provider:
Postal: The Edinburgh Building, Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge CB2 2RU UK
Fax: +44 (0)1223 325150
Web page: http://journals.cambridge.org/jid_INOProvider-Email:email@example.com
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Geys, Benny, 2009. "Wars, presidents and popularity: The political cost(s) of war re-examined," Discussion Papers, Research Professorship & Project "The Future of Fiscal Federalism" SP II 2009-11, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
- Geys, Benny, 2010. "War casualties and US presidential popularity: A comparison of the Korean, Vietnam and Iraq war," Discussion Papers, Research Professorship & Project "The Future of Fiscal Federalism" SP II 2010-05, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Keith Waters).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.