Electoral institutions influence legislators' constituency size and makeup and, as a result, affect the lens that representatives look through to assess the costs of military conflict. Given the uneven distribution of casualties during a conflict, the costs of international violence vary between constituencies and thus affect representatives differently. The authors develop a constituency-based theory of legislator accountability and legislature behavior that predicts when democracies are willing to pay human costs in an interstate conflict and their likelihood of being involved in a dispute. The results suggest that the more diffuse political accountability, the less likely a state is to get involved in a militarized dispute, but that once involved, the more likely a state will sustain casualties. The authors' theory suggests that choices over the mechanisms of political representation have far-reaching effects on political accountability and foreign policy.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Business, Management and Accounting(all)
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations