Recent research suggests that foreign policy hawks have an advantage at bringing about rapprochement with international adversaries. This idea is rooted in domestic politics: voters respond more favorably to efforts at reconciliation when their own leader has a hawkish rather than a dovish reputation. Yet, domestic reactions are only part of the equation—to succeed, rapprochement must also evoke a favorable response by the adversary. Little is known, however, about how rapprochement efforts by hawks and doves are perceived by the other side. Here we argue that the counter-to-type nature of hawks’ conciliatory gestures—what benefits them domestically—may be detrimental to them in the international realm. Foreign audiences should view doves’ overtures as more sincere and be more willing to support cooperation with foreign doves than foreign hawks. However, we also expect that doves’ international advantages shrink the costlier the gesture of the foreign leader. We field survey experiments to examine whether U.S. voters respond differently to foreign hawks or doves delivering the olive branch, what mechanisms drive any differences, and whether the strength of the conciliatory gesture matters. We present preliminary results from a pilot study
Michaela Mattes specializes in International Relations. Her research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of international conflict and cooperation. She focuses on two related sets of questions. First, she studies how adversaries manage and resolve diagreements between them. Much of her focus has been on the design and effects of security institutions, such as conflict management agreements and military alliances, in order to understand which types of agreements work, why they are effective, when they are more or less likely to succeed, and why they are designed the way they are. More recently, she has been working on how hostile countries reconcile in the absence of binding agreements. Second, she examines the role of domestic politics in countries’ foreign policy behavior and especially their willingness and ability to pursue international cooperation. She was a Co-PI on an NSF-funded data collection project on changes in leaders' domestic supporting coalitions and is currently a Co-PI on a DoD Minerva-funded project on domestic security institutions. Her work has appeared in American Journal of Political Science, International Organization, Journal of Politics, International Studies Quarterly, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Peace Research, and Conflict Management and Peace Science.