Miller Center

Matthew Scroggs

Politics, University of Virginia

"Democracies Under Fire: How Democratic Targets and Allies Respond to Coercive Threats"

Scroggs photo

When do states concede to coercive threats? While the majority of research has focused on the states initiating these challenges, comparatively little attention has been given to the targets, the states that actually face the choice of whether to stand firm or back down. Matthew Scroggs' project examines the role that a target’s regime-type, broadly construed as democratic versus non-democratic states, plays in the decision-making process, arguing that democracies are more likely to concede when threatened due to the higher costs they pay for foreign policy failure and the relative ease that challengers have in identifying whether democracies are vulnerable to coercion. Further, Scroggs' argument also extends to the role of democratic allies, who are less reliable when threats of violence are employed against their protégés. Scroggs utilizes in-depth case studies, such as the Suez Crisis and the U.S.S. Pueblo incident, to demonstrate how his theory works in practice, as well as statistical analysis with data from the Militarized Compellent Threat (MCT) and Threat and Imposition of Economic Sanctions (TIES) datasets to show the external validity of his claims.

Fellowship year: 2017

Mentor: William Wohlforth, Dartmouth College

← Return to Fellowship home