Domestic Political Consequences of International Rivalry

Daehee Bak, Kerry Chávez, Toby Rider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Given the conventional claim that external threats increase internal cohesion and government capacity, cross-country studies have examined how interstate conflict events influence domestic politics. This article reevaluates the in-group and out-group mechanisms by examining how international strategic rivalry, which indicates the presence of persistent external threats even in the absence of military conflict, affects domestic political competition. An alternative explanation suggests that the effect of external threats on political incentives of domestic actors differs between regime supporters and oppositions. We posit that the presence of international threats from rival states inflames domestic unrest and oppositions’ antiregime challenges, while making governments rely more on repressive tactics given resource constraints and a high level of domestic political intolerance. In addition, we propose that the domestic consequences of international rivalry are heterogeneous depending on the characteristics of political systems and the level of threat perception. Empirical tests reveal robust evidence for the hypotheses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)703-728
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Conflict Resolution
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • domestic cohesion
  • international rivalry
  • state centralization
  • state repression


Dive into the research topics of 'Domestic Political Consequences of International Rivalry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this