Reputation for Resolve, Interests, and Conflict
Schellingâ€™s work laid the foundation for a reputational theory of conflict behavior, claiming that a stateâ€™s reputation for resolve, as established through its past behavior, should provide it with bargaining leverage in future conflicts. This argument is scrutinized both theoretically and empirically in this study and also juxtaposed to an alternative framework that modifies the impact of â€œface-savingâ€ stakes with those of a more inherent nature, such as the interests in a dispute. We advance an argument about the interplay between a stateâ€™s reputation from past behavior and its current interests in order to predict its crisis behavior. Our empirical expectations are subsequently tested in a quantitative analysis of deterrence crises for the period 1895â€“1985. The findings indicate that, while reputation matters, its impact is indirect at best and contingent on a stateâ€™s interests. Given the strong empirical support, we expect the interaction between reputation and interests as specified in our analysis to further contribute to a better understanding of conflict behavior.
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