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Diverting domestic turmoil

Ashani Amarasinghe
Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Ashani Amarasinghe and Ashani Amarasinghe ()

Journal of Public Economics, 2022, vol. 208, issue C

Abstract: When faced with intense domestic turmoil, governments may strategically engage in foreign interactions to divert the public’s attention away from pressing domestic issues. I test this hypothesis for a globally representative sample of 190 countries, at the monthly level, over the years 1997–2014. Using high–frequency data on media–reported events, I find robust evidence that governments resort to diversionary strategies in times of domestic turmoil and that such diversion takes the form of verbally aggressive foreign interactions. Diversionary interactions are typically targeted at countries closely linked along cultural and geographic dimensions, and at countries with low levels of state capability. Interestingly, I do not find evidence of these strategies being effective in deterring domestic turmoil. Taken together, these findings provide new insights on governments’ systematic use of verbally aggressive foreign interactions as a short-term, low-cost, low-risk, strategic tool, to divert domestic turmoil.

Keywords: Diversionary foreign policy; Domestic turmoil; Football; Connectivity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F51 H77 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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Working Paper: Diverting domestic turmoil (2021) Downloads
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2022.104608

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