influences decision-makers to attack another country when on the brink of war?
The main aim of this study is to detect a causal mechanism underlying the
decision to attack another country when on the brink of war, and whether or not
this mechanism differs between regime-types. It investigates whether or not
regime-type, the nature of the conflict, the power used, and hawkish beliefs of
decision-makers matter in this decision.
By addressing this question from a political psychological and comparative
perspective, this dissertation tests the microfoundations of democratic peace
theory simultaneously with alternative theories of decision-making during
conflict resolution.The core analytical instrument is a decision-making
experiment, executed in the US, Russia, and China. The experimental results are
triangulated with a large N-study, and a case study.
The overall results show that although the democratic peace as an empirical
regularity might still be valid, the theoretical arguments to explain why
democracies do not fight with each other turn out to be built on empirically
unsupported foundations. This study argues that an actor-based approach towards
decision-making processes within international relations offers important
insights to the more structured-based theories of international relations. It
thereby convincingly shows that the individual matters, also in IR.