Government & Politics Theses and Dissertations

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    The Impact of Sanctions on the Domestic Response of Autocrats as Conditioned by Political and Economic Structures
    (2023) Stein, Maeryn Goldman; Huth, Paul K.; Government and Politics; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    The use of economic sanctions has grown exponentially since the conclusion of the Cold War, and research on these policy tools has similarly proliferated. Although much of this scholarship is dedicated to evaluating the efficacy of sanctions, in recent years researchers have begun considering the consequences of sanctions for target states, and the international community more broadly, while also exploring how the characteristics of the target state influence the effects and outcomes of sanctions. Nevertheless, fundamental questions remain unanswered: How do sanctions impact a leader’s domestic policy choices? How do state structures condition the effects of sanctions? And how do sanctions influence the relationship between leaders and their populace? This project addresses these issues by examining how the economic and political structures that define a state shape how sanctions influence the domestic policy choices of autocratic regimes.I argue that a leader’s domestic constituency is multifaceted, and policies that might quiet certain subsets of the population will have little impact on other groups. Autocratic regimes select a matrix of policies best suited to coopt or suppress different sources of threat, thereby achieving a status quo. When sanctions target a primed audience, autocrats must adjust their policy matrix or risk either a coup or rebellion. The groups that are impacted by sanctions, how these groups respond, and how autocrats can best mitigate unrest is contingent on the types of sanctions imposed (targeted or comprehensive) and the economic and political structures that define the state. My theoretical arguments produce two hypotheses and eight sub-hypotheses. The first hypothesis deals with how the political structure (measured by the regime’s Loyalty Norm) conditions the regime’s domestic policy response (Systemic Repression and/or Patronage) to threats resulting from the imposition of targeted and comprehensive sanctions. The second hypothesis addresses how a state’s economic structure, measured by the regime’s income source (earned or unearned), conditions the response (Public Goods and/or Patronage) to threats that arise from targeted and comprehensive sanctions. I explore the relationship between sanctions, state structures, and response using a reconstructed dataset that examines sanction imposition at the target-year level of analysis. The quantitative study supports five of my eight sub-hypotheses. Interestingly, the three sub-hypotheses that are not supported involve the use of Patronage, suggesting that there are issues with the definition and/or measures of Patronage I employed that bear further investigation. To further clarify the dynamics between sanction type, economic and political structures, and domestic response, I conduct two case studies that focus on the leader’s use of Patronage. The first case study evaluates the impact of US sanctions on Nicaragua during the 1980s. The second explores how sanctions influenced the Qadhafi regime’s domestic policies in Libya from 1978 - 1999. Taken together, the quantitative and qualitative studies confirm that economic sanctions can and do disrupt the relationship between autocrats and the populace, leading the regime to reconstruct their domestic policy matrix. The state’s structures condition this dynamic, and economic structures can be as influential as political institutions in shaping policies. Finally, this study demonstrates that traditional conceptions of Patronage require further consideration and a regime’s use of Patronage is typically more nuanced than it is for repressive strategies. Conventional measures of Patronage, such as corruption and clientelism, as well as the boundary between Patronage and the provision of Public Goods deserve closer scrutiny.
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    The Oil Blessing? Hydrocarbons’ Effects on Maritime Boundary Formation
    (2023) O'Brien, Patrick L; Huth, Paul H; Government and Politics; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Do natural resources help states resolve contentious maritime boundary issues? Literature on maritime boundaries suggests that states often sign maritime boundary agreements to acquire offshore hydrocarbons, yet there are also ample examples when resources have been the reason why states dispute maritime zones. To explain this apparent contradiction, an oil effect is posited that is conditional on states’ pre-existing claims. When maritime neighbors do not have overlapping maritime claims, the onset of oil interests in bordering maritime space make states more likely to sign delimitation agreements to achieve the legal certainty necessary to extract the oil. However, among states engaged in a maritime dispute prior to the onset of hydrocarbon interests, a different industry risk calculus, increased audience costs, and institutional challenges in reducing extant claims all mean that the same effect should not be observable. Meanwhile, the increased issue salience born from the oil interest should also make states more likely to pursue peaceful settlement attempts through other agreements related to their maritime zones, like establishing a joint development zone or pursuing third party conflict management. A dataset of maritime boundaries was improved upon to test this theory on 447 pairs of maritime neighbors from 1946 to 2016. Regression analyses confirm that a nearby oil discovery makes delimitation agreements more likely only among dyads without a prior existing dispute. Closer examination of 27 joint development zone agreements and 38 agreements to pursue binding third-party dispute settlement suggest that the order of events also plays a key role. Indeed, states engaged in a new dispute prompted by hydrocarbon interests are the most likely to sign all three agreement types—delimitation, joint development zone, and judicial settlement. In a comparative case study using U.S. maritime boundaries, oil interests are shown to have hastened delimitation agreements between the United States and Mexico, whereas oil interests made dispute resolution more difficult in U.S.-Canada maritime boundary areas. After resorting to and enduring the ordeal of a World Court case to achieve one partial settlement, Ottawa and Washington had little appetite to address remaining disputes. The implications of these findings for the world’s remaining undelimited boundaries are then discussed, focusing on East Asia.
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    Words that Matter: Three Essays on Multilateral Opposition to War
    (2022) Kim, Hyunki; Huth, Paul; Government and Politics; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    My dissertation titled “Words that Matter: Three Essays on Multilateral Opposition to War” advances our understanding of how the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) constrains state behavior through the use of verbal condemnation. The UNSC has an array of tools to manage violent conflicts, including condemnations, economic sanctions, and military actions. Existing scholarship largely discounts verbal condemnations as ineffective because they are not backed up by coercive actions that impose tangible costs. Empirical patterns and anecdotal illustrations, however, suggest contrary findings – that verbal condemnations can constrain state behavior under certain conditions. I address this gap by examining how variation across UNSC condemnations impacts the crisis-actors’ decision to escalate. I argue that variation in legal invocation and rhetorical severity sends important signals to the targeted state that can change the expected costs of war and, ultimately, prevent escalation. I further examine the determinants of rhetorical variation across UNSC condemnations through the lens of power-sharing and power-politics within the UN. I find that the permanent members influence the contents of the resolution, but the Council President shapes the UN’s agenda. My theoretical expectations and findings are validated by an empirical analysis of international crisis-actors from 1946 to 2017 with the original coding of legality and severity in the UNSC resolutions. This dissertation project improves our understanding of the UN’s role in conflict management, especially through condemnations. The findings suggest that rhetorical tools can be just as effective, and that the UN’s multilateral efforts can mitigate interstate conflicts in world politics by invoking international law and designing impactful messages.
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    Why Do Rebels Split? Examining The Causes Of Rebel Group Fragmentation
    (2022) Stern , Moran; Telhami, Shibley; Government and Politics; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Why do rebel groups undergo fragmentation? While extensive research about the consequences of rebel fragmentation exists, research on the process of fragmentation remains relatively nascent. This dissertation collects three papers on the causes of rebel group fragmentation. In the first paper, I develop a junior cadres-based explanation of fragmentation. I argue that in a centralized rebel group, factions will emerge when leaders block junior cadres’ access to senior decision-making bodies. Junior cadres who want to influence the organization’s politics therefore face a choice between remaining within the rebel group and exiting it. Factionalizing is a way to redress grievances by aggrieved junior cadres who deem peaceful mechanisms for upward mobility ineffective. Using original datasets and personal interviews, I find strong evidence supporting my argument in the case of Palestinian Fatah. In the second paper, I argue that the solution to the question of fragmentation lies in rebel socialization—specifically, military training (MT). MT increases group cohesion by strengthening horizontal bonds among combatants; vertical bonds between combatants and commanders; and members’ institutional bonds to the organization’s overall mission and esprit de corps. Members become mutually dependent, thus making splintering more costly and fragmentation less likely. I test this argument on a global sample of 83 rebel groups active between 1989 and 2010. I find that rebel groups that have recently conducted MT are less likely to fragment by about 75 percent. In the third paper, I explore the effect of foreign fighters (FFs) on rebel fragmentation, examining a number of mechanisms derived from previous research. First, I explore how reduced group dependency on local fighters, preference divergence, strategic disagreements, and member segregation increase the likelihood of fragmentation for rebel groups that recruit FFs. Second, I posit that if the foreignness of FFs in relation to local insurgents makes fragmentation more likely, then rebel groups that recruit coethnic FFs will be less likely to experience fragmentation. I test these arguments on a global sample of 227 rebel groups active between 1989 and 2011. I find that rebel groups that recruit FFs are significantly more likely to fragment, even after accounting for the endogenous choice of rebel groups to recruit FFs. Against my expectations, I find that the recruitment of coethnic FFs does not diminish the probability of fragmentation. This finding raises questions about the value of ethnic homogeneity in the context of FFs in particular.
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    Follow the Leaders: Policy Presentation in the U.S. Congress
    (2022) Gaynor, SoRelle Wyckoff; Miler, Kristina; Government and Politics; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This dissertation presents a theory of policy presentation in the U.S. Congress. I define policy presentation as the strategic development and distribution of partisan information to explain major legislative decisions by congressional leaders. Today, rank-and-file members, increasingly removed from the legislative process, rely on guidance from congressional leaders to discuss major legislative decisions with their constituents. As a result, preparing constituent communication materials has become an institutionalized responsibility for party and committee leaders, particularly for House Republicans. I also argue that policy presentation is an undocumented source of partisan polarization, as it incentivizes a partisan presentation of legislative activity—even in cases of bipartisanship and compromise. Using interviews with members of Congress and staff, computational text analysis, and social network analysis, I demonstrate how congressional leaders develop and distribute partisan messages for constituent use. I also document the conditions under which policy presentation occurs, and the members most likely to rely on party and committee leaders for assistance with constituent communication.