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Selection institutions and war aims


  • James Morrow


  • Bruce Bueno de Mesquita
  • Randolph Siverson
  • Alastair Smith


We explore how the sizes of the winning coalition and selectorate influence the war aims of states. Leaders who answer to a small winning coalition are more likely to seek territorial gain as a way to increase state resources. Nonterritorial war aims produce a commitment problem in that after the war the defeated state may not comply with the victor's demands. States with large winning coalitions are more willing to continue the war to remove the enemy leader as a solution to this commitment problem. We test our hypotheses against the Militarized Interstate Dispute data set, and we find some support for our argument. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin/Heidelberg 2006

Suggested Citation

  • James Morrow & Bruce Bueno de Mesquita & Randolph Siverson & Alastair Smith, 2006. "Selection institutions and war aims," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 31-52, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:ecogov:v:7:y:2006:i:1:p:31-52
    DOI: 10.1007/s10101-005-0108-z

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