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Book Project: Carrots or Sticks? Positive Inducements and Sanctions in International Relations


What is the utility and relative efficacy of positive inducements and sanctions in international politics? Are inducements and sanctions actually different or just the two sides of the same coin? Using an Absence-Presence of Outcomes framework, I examine the effect of carrot and stick-like foreign policies in international relations. Dominant works on risk-taking and decision-making—like loss aversion—have shown that people are more sensitive to potential losses than gains, which would suggest that sanctions should be utilized more to achieve preferred outcomes. I find, however, that inducement policies that require concessions from the target state can be framed to gain the target state’s public support and allow target state leaders to “save face.” In contrast, I find that sanctions provoke nationalism, creating a rally around the flag effect, resulting in negative consequences for the sender state. In short, carrots work better than sticks in getting the target state to acquiesce to the sender state’s demands. However, not all carrots are equal; my findings suggest that new and direct types of carrots (e.g. new aid) elicit more support for concessions from the target state than indirect carrots that remove an existing stick (e.g. lifting existing sanctions). Drawing on experimental research in China, India, and South Korea, elite interviews, and archival research, my project aims to bridge the the policy-academy gap by translating a perennial policy-level problem of “carrots vs. sticks” to an academic question assessing the utility and relative efficacy of positive inducements versus sanctions.

Working Papers

"Measurement That Matches Theory: Theory-Driven Identification IRT Models." [Revised and Resubmitted to American Political Science Review]

(with Marco Morucci, Margaret J. Foster, Kaitlyn Webster, and David A. Siegel)

"Staff Rides as Pedagogical Practice." [Revised and Resubmitted to PS: Political Science and Politics]

(with Andrew Szarejko)

"The Observable Bounds of Rationality and Credibility in International Relations" [Invited to Revise and Resubmit to Journal of Politics]

(with Andrew Kenealy and Trent Ollerenshaw)

"The Diffusion of Territorial Dispute Claims." [Invited to Revise and Resubmit to Research & Politics]

(with Chong Chen and David A. Siegel)

Carrots or Sticks? Experimental Microfoundations of Positive Inducements and Sanctions in China, India, and South Korea." 

"Deterrable or Committed Signalers? The Effectiveness of U.S. Economic Aid in Nuclear Nonproliferation." 

Works in Progress

"A Bayesian Integrated Theoretical-empirical Model of Conflict in Africa" [Data analysis stage]

(with Kaitlyn Webster, Margaret J. Foster, Marco Morucci, David A. Siegel, Elizabeth Carlson, and Will H. Moore)

"Domestic Support for Economic Sanctions: Legitimacy vs. Efficacy" [Post-pilot stage]

(with Pei-Yu Wei)

"The North Korea Conundrum: Inducements and Sanctions in Practice." [Data collection stage]

"Who Supports What? A Conjoint Analysis of Domestic Support for Sanctions." [Research design stage]

(with Pei-Yu Wei) 

"Nuclear Fatigue? Experimental Evidence from Australia and South Korea." [Research design stage]

"Not in My Backyard: Public Perception of Nuclear Power Plants in South Korea." [Research design stage]

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