Abstract

In a recent article, James Fearon advances an innovative approach to the study of interstate crises. He adds to the traditional view (that crisis outcomes are influenced by the balance of capability and the balance of resolve) the notion that domestic political audiences exert a strong influence over which state in a crisis is likely to achieve a successful outcome. His game-theoretic analysis yields a number of interesting hypotheses, which are tested in this study using data on militarized disputes, the structure of polities, and national capability. In general the results strongly support Fearon's model, though we find that relative national capabilities do tend to affect the outcomes of crises. This study highlights the importance of combining formal models of political events with large-N empirical tests.