Diplomacy Through Agents

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Authors David Lindsey
Paper Category
Paper Abstract In this paper, I argue that delegating diplomacy allows for credible diplomatic communication by constraining leaders’ ability to bluff. I show that leaders will optimally choose diplomatic agents who place value on the interests of their host countries. Such diplomats will only oppose foreign government policies when revision to those policies provides large benefits to the home country. Consequently, when diplomats transmit messages, this action indicates that the home country values the issue highly, increasing the likelihood of concessions. I show formally that the optimal diplomat is always biased towards foreign interests because the gain in credibility offsets the diplomat’s occasional failure to support the leader’s position. However, the optimal diplomat’s bias is constrained because leaders will choose to preserve some ability to bluff. As an illustration of the results, I discuss Anglo-American diplomacy during the Wilson administration, focusing on the role played by Ambassador Walter Hines Page.
Date of publication 2017
Code Programming Language R

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