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Hawks, Doves, and International Cooperation

Journal of Conflict Resolution

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How does the hawkish or dovish nature of the domestic opposition in one state influence its own, as well as an international opponent’s, negotiating behavior? I show that doves, when negotiating in the presence of a hawkish opposition, have more bargaining leverage in international negotiations. The key is to understand an international opponent’s preference to deal with a dove rather than a hawk in future negotiations. I argue that adversaries have an incentive to concede more in negotiations to doves in order to sustain them in office, because failing to give concessions may lead to their replacement by less conciliatory (more hawkish) governments in the future. For this reason, doves are more likely than hawks to extract critical concessions from adversaries. The empirical results support this argument, which altogether suggests that doves are more successful in international negotiations not because they are more conciliatory, but rather because, for domestic reasons, they have greater bargaining leverage to extract counter-concessions from adversaries.