International Adjudication and Public Opinion in Territorial Disputes: Evidence from a Survey Experiment Using Amazon Mechanical Turk

Florian Justwan 1  and Sarah K. Fisher 2
  • 1 University of Idaho, Department of Politics and Philosophy, 875 Perimeter Drive, MS 3165, Moscow, USA
  • 2 Emory and Henry College, Politics, Law & International Relations, Emory, USA
Florian Justwan
  • Corresponding author
  • University of Idaho, Department of Politics and Philosophy, 875 Perimeter Drive, MS 3165, Moscow, USA
  • Email
  • Search for other articles:
  • degruyter.comGoogle Scholar
and Sarah K. Fisher

Abstract

This article explores the effects of international adjudication on individual-level attitudes in territorial disputes. In particular, we investigate the micro-foundations for the argument that international court rulings provide political cover for governments settling disputes through unpopular territorial concessions. In an online survey conducted for this project, 494 Indian respondents were confronted with a fictitious foreign policy scenario. A randomized experiment embedded in the survey provides four major findings. First, international adjudication makes citizens more willing to support concessions in border disputes. Second, international courts influence the perceived fairness of comprosmise solutions. Third, legal conflict management mediates the emotional fallout of territorial concessions. Finally, we do not find any evidence for the claim that international adjudication reduces individual-level concerns over commitment problems. By focusing on individual-level data, this article provides an important contribution to the literature on international conflict management.

  • Albin, C. (2003). Negotiating international cooperation: Global public goods and fairness. Review of International Studies, 29(3), 365–385.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Allee, T. L. & Huth, P. (2006a). Legitimizing dispute settlement: International legal rulings as domestic political cover. American Political Science Review, 100(2), 219–234.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Allee, T. L. & Huth, P. (2006b). The pursuit of legal settlements to territorial disputes. Conflict Management and Peace Science, 23(4), 285–307.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Baghel, R. & Nüsser, M. (2015). Securing the heights: The vertical dimension of the Siachen conflict between India and Pakistan in the Eastern Karakoram. Political Geography, 48(1), 24–36.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Bahree, M. (2009). Showdown on the subcontinent. World Policy Journal, 26(3), 41–49.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Bandyopadhyaya, J. (2003). The making of India’s foreign policy: Determinants, institutions, processes, and personalities. New Delhi: Allied Publishers.

  • Basrur, R. M. (2008). South Asia’s cold war: Nuclear weapons and conflict in comparative perspective. London, New York: Routledge.

  • Beardsley, K. & Lo, N. (2014). Third-party conflict management and the willingness to make concessions. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 58(2), 363–392.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Bercovitch, J. & Houston, A. (2000). Why do they do it like this? An analysis of the factors influencing mediation behavior in international conflicts. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 44(2), 170–202.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Berinsky, A. J., Huber, G. A. & Lenz, G. S. (2012). Evaluating online labor markets for experimental research: Amazon.com’s Mechanical Turk. Political Analysis, 20(3), 351–368.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Bueno de Mesquita, B., Morrow, J. D., Siverson, R. M. & Smith, A. (2004). Testing novel implications from the selectorate theory of war. World Politics, 56(2), 363–388.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Buhrmester, M., Kwang, T. & Gosling, S. D. (2011). Amazon’s mechanical turk: a new source of inexpensive, yet high-quality, data? Perspectives on Psychological Science, 6(1), 3–5.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Ganguly, S., Hellwig, T. & Thompson, W. R. (2017). The foreign policy attitudes of Indian elites: Variance, structure, and common denominators. Foreign Policy Analysis, 13(2), 416–438.

  • Gent, S. & Shannon, M. (2010). The effectiveness of international arbitration and adjudication: Getting into a bind. Journal of Politics, 72(2), 366–380.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Gent, S. & Shannon, M. (2011a). Bias and the effectiveness of third-party conflict management mechanisms. Conflict Management and Peace Science, 28(2), 124–144.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Gent, S. & Shannon, M. (2011b). Decision control and the pursuit of binding conflict management: Choosing the ties that bind. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 55(5), 1–25.

  • Gibler, D. M., Hutchison, M. L. & Miller, S. V. (2012). Individual identity attachments and international conflict: The importance of territorial threat. Comparative Political Studies, 45(12), 1655–1683.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Global Times. (2012). Considered strategy needed in Diaoyu spat. Global Times online, . accessed August 20, 2016.

  • Goodman, J. K., Cryder, C. E. & Cheema, A. (2013). Data collection in a flat world: The strengths and weaknesses of mechanical turk samples. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 26(3), 213–224.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Hensel, P. R., Mitchell, S. M., Sowers, T. E. & Thyne, C. L. (2008). Bones of contention. comparing territorial, maritime, and river issues. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 52(1), 117–143.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Horton, J., Rand, D. G. & Zeckhauser, R. J. (2011). The online laboratory: Conducting experiments in a real labor market. Experimental Economics, 14(3), 399–425.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Hutchison, M. L. (2011). Territorial threat and the decline of political trust in Africa: A multilevel analysis. Polity, 43(4), 432–461.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Huth, P. K. & Allee, T. L. (2002). The democratic peace and territorial conflict in the twentieth century. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

  • Huth, P., Croco, S. & Appel, B. (2011). Does international law promote the peaceful settlement of international disputes? Evidence from the study of territorial conflicts since 1945. American Political Science Review, 105(2), 415–436.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Johns, R. & Davies, G. A. (2012). Democratic peace or clash of civilizations? Target states and support for war in Britian and the United States. The Journal of Politics, 74(4), 1038–1052.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Justwan, F. (2017). Trusting publics: The impact of generalized social trust on the decision to pursue binding conflict management. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 61(3), 590–614.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Kapstein, E. B. (2008). Fairness considerations in world politics: Lessons from international trade negotiations. Political Science Quarterly, 123(2), 229–245.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Karim, S. M. (2014). Litigating law of the sea disputes using UNCLOS dispute settlement system. Klien, N. (Ed.), Litigating international law disputes: Weighing the options (pp. 260–284). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Levy, J. S., McKoy, M. K., Poast, P. & Wallace, G. P. R. (2015). Backing out or backing in? Commitment and consistency in audience costs theory. American Journal of Political Science, 59(4), 988–1001.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Mason, W. & Suri, S. (2012). Conducting behavioral research on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Behavioral Research, 44(1), 1–23.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Melin, M. M. & Grigorescu, A. (2014). Dispute resolution and escalation in a world of entangled territorial claims. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 58(6), 1085–1109.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Miller, S. V. (forthcoming). Individual-level expectations of executive authority under territorial threat. Conflict Management and Peace Science. Available from: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0738894215600384

  • Mintz, A. & Geva, N. (1993). Why don’t democracies fight each other? An experimental study. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 37(3), 484–503.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • NYT. (2016). China’s Defiance in the South China Sea. New York Times, . accessed August 17, 2016.

  • Paolacci, G., Chandler, J. & Ipeirotis, P. G. (2010). Running experiments on Amazon mechanical turk. Judgment and Decision Making, 5(5), 411–419.

  • Powell, E. J. (2015). Islamic law states and peaceful resolution of territorial disputes. International Organization, 69(4), 777–708.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Powell, E. J. & Wiegand, K. (2014). Strategic selection: Political and legal mechanisms of territorial dispute resolution. Journal of Peace Research, 51(3), 361–374.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Raghavan, V. R. (2002). Siachen: Conflict without end. New Delhi, New York: Viking.

  • Raymond, G. A. (1994). Democracies, disputes, and third-party intermediaries. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 38(1), 24–42.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Sanfey, A. G., Rilling, J. K., Aronson, J. A., Nystrom, L. E. & Cohen, J. D. (2003). The neural basis of economic decision-making in the ultimatum game. Science, 300(5626), 1755–1758.

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Export Citation
  • Senese, P. D. & Vasquez, J. A. (2005). Assessing the steps to war. British Journal of Political Science, 35(4), 607–633.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Shannon, M. (2009). Preventing war and providing the peace? International organizations and the management of territorial disputes. Conflict Management and Peace Science, 26(2), 144–163.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Singh, N. (2012). How to tame your dragon: An evaluation of india’s foreign policy toward China. India Review, 11(3), 139–160.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Tanaka, S. (2016). The microfoundations of territorial disputes: Evidence from opinion surveys in Japan. Conflict Management and Peace Science, 33(5), 516–538.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Times of India. (2015). Govt bows to Congress, tweaks Bangladesh land deal. Times of India online, . accessed March 29, 2017.

  • Tir, J. (2010). Territorial diversion: Diversionary theory of war and territorial conflict. Journal of Politics, 72(2), 413–425.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Tomz, M. (2007). Domestic audience costs and international relations: An experimental approach. International Organization, 61(4), 821–840.

  • Tomz, M. & Weeks, J. (2013). Public opinion and the democratic peace. American Political Science Review, 107(4), 849–865.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Wallensteen, P. & Svensson, I. (2014). Talking peace: International mediation in armed conflicts. Journal of Peace Research, 51(2), 315–327.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Wiegand, K. E. (2011). Enduring territorial disputes: Strategies of bargaining, coercive diplomacy, and settlement. Athens: University of Georgia Press.

  • Wiegand, K. & Powell, E. J. (2011). Past experience, quest for the best forum, and peaceful attempts to resolve territorial disputes. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 55(1), 33–59.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
Purchase article
Get instant unlimited access to the article.
$42.00
Log in
Already have access? Please log in.


or
Log in with your institution

Journal + Issues

Search