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Spurred by Threats or Afraid of War? A Survey Experiment on Costs of Conflict in Support for Military Action

Gleditsch, Kristian and Tago, Atsushi and Tanaka, Seiki (2019) 'Spurred by Threats or Afraid of War? A Survey Experiment on Costs of Conflict in Support for Military Action.' Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy, 25 (2). ISSN 1079-2457

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It is commonly assumed that perceived threats from a rival state will make individuals more likely to "rally-round-the-flag" and support military action. Previous studies have looked at how information about threats afffects public support for military action. To date, however, there has been less attention to how information about the costs of conflict afffects support for military action in response to threats. In this article, we present a survey experiment designed to evaluate how information about the likely military and economic costs of conflict influences support for military action. We provide Japanese respondents with information about relations with China, and probe how support for military action in the context of the ongoing territorial dispute changes with varying information on the military costs of conflict and its economic consequences. We find that information about trade ties and military capacity exerts a pacifying efffect and strengthens opposition to military action. Consistent with our proposed mechanism, we show that greater awareness of military costs is associated with stronger opposition to military action. Our results indicate that even under the existence of external threats, greater awareness of the costs of conflict afffects attitudes to military action and can increase support for peaceful solutions to territorial rivalries.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Public opinion; territorial disputes; interdependence; arming, Japan, China
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 28 Mar 2019 17:25
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2020 02:00

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