Selected Publications


International Relations under Risk: Framing State Choice. 2004. SUNY Press. (Reprinted in Korean, 2010)


“Measuring Social Trust and Trusting the Measure” (w/Florian Justwan & Ryan Baker). The Social Science Journal. (Forthcoming)

“Prospect Theory in International Relations.” In Oxford Bibliographies in International Relations. New York: Oxford University Press, April, 2016.

“David vs. Goliath: Risk and Weaker-state Confrontation” Foreign Policy Analysis. April, 2016. (

“Loss Aversion and Foreign Policy Resolve” (w/Bryan early) Political Psychology. Vol.34 No.5 2013.

“Disaggregating Noncompliance: Abstention versus Predation in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime” (w/Matt Fuhrmann) Journal of Conflict Resolution. Vol. 56 No.3 2012.

“Deploying Sanctions while Protecting Human Rights” (with Ella Shagabutdinova). Journal of Human Rights. Vol. 6 No.1 2007.

“Model Building with Prospect Theory: A Cognitive Approach to International Relations Theory.” Political Psychology Vol. 23 No.4 2003.

“Behavioral Decision Theory and the Gains Debate in International Politics” (with Matthew Mulford) Political Studies Vol. 50. No.2. 2002.

“A Cognitive Theory of Deterrence” Journal of Peace Research Vol. 39. No.2. 2002. pp. 165-183. (Reprinted in Peace, Prosperity and Policy on the Korean Peninsula: The Limits of Coercive Diplomacy in the Korean Peninsula. In-Duk Kang, Ed. Institute for East Asian Studies (Seoul, Korea). 2005 )

“Reflexive Action in International Politics” (with John Dryzek) British Journal of Political Science. Vo1.30. April. 2000 pp.193-216.

“The Gains Debate: Framing State Choice” American Political Science Review. Vol. 91 No.4 1997. pp.789-805.

“Reconstructive Democratic Theory” (with John Dryzek) American Political Science Review. Vol.87 No.1 1993. pp.48-60.

“Revolutionary Collective Action and the Agent-Structure Problem” American Political Science Review. Vol.86 No.3 1992. pp.647-657 (Reprinted in: Revolutions: Critical Concepts in Political Science, ed. Rosemary O’Kane. Routledge: London. 2000.)



“Risk Disposition and Multi-domain Strategic Stability: An empirical examination.” (w/Zachary Zwald).  Project on Advanced Systems and Concepts for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction. Department of Defense. $160,000

Risk Disposition and Deterrence Effectiveness: An Examination of Psychological Determinants. (w/Zachary Zwald). Hobby Center for Public Policy $7,000

University of Georgia Innovative Instruction Faculty Grant,  ($5,000)


Policy Work:

“Cognitive Expectations and the Prospects for Intra-War Deterrence” Cross-Domain Deterrence Initiative. Delivered to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Global and Strategic Affairs, 2010

“When is a Cyber Attack and Act of War” (w/James Lewis   & David Luban).  Cross Domain Deterrence Initiative. Delivered to the office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Global and Strategic Affairs, 2010


Recent Research Abstracts:

David vs. Goliath: Risk and Weaker State Confrontation

Abstract: Confronting a more powerful rival can be a risky proposition. This paper integrates prospect theory into the growing Neoclassical Realist (NCR) literature to identify the conditions under which decision makers are most likely to accept foreign policy risks. I argue that decision makers governing regimes with low levels of political counterframing are more likely to settle into a dominant loss frame when their external security environment erodes. This increases the probability that they will initiate disputes with more powerful adversaries. To assess this proposition, I conduct a test of weaker state confrontation grounded in a NCR framework that utilizes the insights from prospect theory. Data come from the postwar era and support my hypothesis. Loss frames exert influence over the decision to initiate risky foreign policy strategies in regimes in which political counterframing is absent.

Loss Aversion and Foreign Policy Resolve

Abstract: This paper draws upon recent findings from the field of neuroscience to explore how loss aversion affects foreign policy resolve. We theorize that U.S. policymakers are more resolute in pursuing preventative policies that seek to avoid losses than they are in pursuing promotive policies that seek to acquire new gains. To test our theory, we conduct the first large-n analysis of foreign policy hypotheses derived from the neuroscience of loss aversion using data from 100 cases of U.S.-initiated Section 301 trade disputes. The results provide strong support for the loss aversion-based theory, revealing that American policymakers are willing to fight harder and hold out longer in trade disputes with preventative objectives than they are in cases with promotive ones.  Our study demonstrates that hypotheses derived from neuroscientific findings can be tested using large-n techniques in study of foreign policy, revealing a new avenue of inquiry within the field.

(Dr. Bryan Early, SUNY Albany, Co-author)

Disaggregating Noncompliance: Abstention versus Predation in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty

Abstract: Why do states make disingenuous treaty commitments? Under what conditions will countries refrain from entering cooperative agreements with which they do not expect to comply? This article addresses these questions by analyzing how states that are pursuing nuclear weapons treat the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). The authors develop a distinction between two types of noncooperative behavior. The first is cheating while part of the NPT (predation) and the second is pursuing nuclear weapons outside of the treaty (abstention). The authors’ argument is that democratic proliferators are more likely to abstain because executives in democracies are domestically constrained to a greater degree than authoritarian leaders. Statistical tests in a sample of all countries with active nuclear weapons programs from 1968 to 2004 provide evidence in favor of our argument. Controlling for confounding variables and the factors that motivate states to pursue nuclear weapons, the results show that states with greater constraints on executive authority are less likely to choose predation. Yet, electoral mandates do not appear to dissuade governments from making disingenuous treaty commitments. These findings have important implications for nuclear proliferation, the credibility of international commitments, and efforts to link domestic political institutions with international outcomes.

(Dr. Matthew Furhmann, Texas A&M University, Co-author)