Essays on the U.S. Foreign Policy and Domestic Politics Connection
CitationKim, Chan. 2018. Essays on the U.S. Foreign Policy and Domestic Politics Connection. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThe purpose of this dissertation is twofold. First, I address the debate on whether domestic politics and foreign policy are isolated from one another by demonstrating that the two are interconnected. I argue that explanations for foreign policy are not isolated to external affairs, and explanations for domestic politics are not isolated to internal affairs. As a result, domestic audiences can constrain the foreign policy conduct of those in power. Second, given this relationship, I clarify the nature of democratic accountability in foreign policy by showing the specific mechanisms by which it operates yet how it can be altered.
In the first paper, I demonstrate the magnitude and direction of voter blame for war casualties and their implications for U.S. electoral outcomes. I present a theory arguing that voters use local casualties to retrospectively punish the incumbent party in elections. In districts held by the incumbent party, casualties decrease the incumbent party’s vote share as well as dampen turnout among voters.
In the second paper, I find that patronage exists in the U.S. ambassador selection process through political appointments, yet there is no evidence that political appointees underperform compared to career appointees. While patronage is prevalent among ambassador selections, term lengths, rather than political appointments, are an important predictor of ambassador performance.
In the third paper, I offer a domestic political explanation for why the U.S. outsources wartime role to private military contractors. I show that elected officials can potentially obscure the human costs of war because contractor casualties are underreported by the media and underestimated by the public compared to civilian soldier casualties. As a result, privatizing war allows legislators to reduce accountability in the use of military force.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:41127148
- FAS Theses and Dissertations