Type of Document Dissertation Author Shellman, Stephen Michael Author's Email Address email@example.com URN etd-11152003-004651 Title Taking Turns: A Theory and A of Government-Dissident Interactions Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Political Science, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Will H. Moore Committee Chair Damarys Canache Committee Member James Cobbe Committee Member Sara Mitchell Committee Member William D. Berry Committee Member Keywords
Date of Defense 2003-10-10 Availability unrestricted AbstractThe project focuses on the interrelationship between both government and dissident leaders’ “micromotives” and the regime’s/group’s “macrobehavior” (Schelling 1978). That is, I explain how dissident and government leaders’ individual motives transpire into events such as the clashes with riot police, cooperative agreements, and terrorist activities we observe in Chile, Venezuela, Afghanistan, and Israel. In contentious political struggles between the government and an opposition group, how does a state’s choice among tactics (e.g., violence versus negotiation) influence an opposition group’s choice among tactics? Conversely, how does an opposition group’s choice among tactics influence a state’s choice among tactics? This project proposes a theory to answer these questions and posits a research design to test the theory's implications.
The theory restricts attention to a two actor world composed of a government and a dissident group, in which the government implements policies and defends those policies and dissidents challenge those policies and the government's authority to rule. Thus, the government and the dissidents are viewed as opponents of one another. Suppose further that each entity is controlled by a rational leader and that each leader gets utility from maintaining their tenure. To protect their positions of authority, leaders direct actions towards one another. Each leader’s choice of action is influenced by three factors: internal threat, external threat, and resource pools.
First, each leader faces threats from his or her coalition of supporters (internal threat). For leaders to remain in power, they must have a coalition of followers that support them. The likelihood of a leader maintaining power decreases, as his or her support erodes. In this simplified world, a leader’s coalition of supporters judges the leader’s performance in office based on the successes and failures he or she has in interactions with the opponent. Thus, one’s actions are a function of previous outcomes in interactions with the opponent.
Second, leaders face threats from the opponent itself (external threat) such as assassination, imprisonment, exile, revolution, and coup d'état. Thus, leaders must prevent violent backlash and upheaval. As a result, a leader’s action is a function of past opponent behavior.
However, each action is costly and under certain conditions, resource pools constrain leaders’ tactical choices. Leaders’ motives compel them to monitor the levels of internal and external threat in their environment and the availability of resources when choosing actions to direct at their opponent. Each leader chooses from an action set containing hostile and cooperative means. The theoretical implies the ways in which leaders behave towards one another in different decision-making contexts.
To capture the argument, the author specifies a system of equations that s state and dissident leaders' choices in sequential response to one. Using a most-different-systems design, the author performs empirical tests of the theoretical in the countries of Chile, Venezuela, Israel, and Afghanistan using event data and time series econometric techniques. The data come from the Intranational Political Interactions (IPI) project and the Kansas Event Data Systems (KEDS) project. The results show strong support for the hypotheses in most countries and weaker support in others.
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