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Terrorism, Democratization, and U.S. Foreign Policy

Thursday June 16, 2011, at 14:00
Room Fred Halliday - IBEI
Research seminar
Navin A. Bapat (University of North Carolina)

Members of the U.S. foreign policy establishment argue that the U.S. should combat transnational terrorism by encouraging democratization. Yet, empirical studies indicate that democratization may increase political violence, raising the question: why would U.S. policymakers favor democratization when the empirical record suggest that this course of action is so uncertain? This study develops a game theoretic model to analyze the effect of democratization on terrorism. The model  demonstrates that the U.S. uses the commitment problems created by democratization to solve the moral hazard problem created by supporting autocratic hosts. These empirical implications are tested using a combination of two datasets.