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Leadership Turnover and Foreign Policy Change: Societal Interests, Domestic Institutions, and Voting in the United Nations

Mattes, M and Leeds, BA and Carroll, R (2015) 'Leadership Turnover and Foreign Policy Change: Societal Interests, Domestic Institutions, and Voting in the United Nations.' International Studies Quarterly, 59 (2). 280 - 290. ISSN 0020-8833

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Abstract

© 2014 International Studies Association. This study examines the effect of domestic political change on United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) voting. We argue that foreign policy change is most likely when a new leader-one who relies on different societal groups for support than her predecessor-comes to power. We then examine the extent that domestic institutional context-in particular, democracy-shapes this process. We test our hypotheses using a new measure of UNGA voting patterns and new data on changes in leaders' supporting coalitions. We find that change in the societal support base of leaders leads to change in UN voting, especially in nondemocracies. This study lends credence to the perspective that foreign policy, like domestic policy, can vary with the particular interests that leaders represent; it encourages scholars to focus less on leadership change per se and more on changes in the societal groups to which leaders are most accountable. This study also suggests that democratic institutions inspire policy consistency not only in areas governed by treaties and international law, but also in areas of foreign policy that are easier to alter in the short term.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Royce Carroll
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2017 12:32
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2019 11:16
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/18924

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