International Negotiations, Leaders’ Strategies, and Public Opinion




Assistant Professor

Project Summary

Our research project focused on international negotiations, with the goal of understanding when and why leaders make threats and promises and the consequences of those actions. The project had an agenda that included collecting and coding data on a broad range of facets of international negotiations, covering negotiations on issue areas as diverse as international labor rights, arms control treaties, and the regulation of beer exports. 

To narrow the universe of potential cases, Professor Brutger selected a set of case studies compiled by the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy for detailed coding and abbreviated summaries. In total we coded 61 unique case studies, and examined an additional 18 case studies that were deemed to be irrelevant for the project because they did not meet the criteria of being an international negotiation. For each case, we researched and coded at least 28 aspects of the negotiation, and for negotiations that lasted multiple years we did this for each year, resulting in substantially more data coding than just the baseline 61 negotiations would have entailed if they were single observations.

The project focused on identifying and coding the specific types of promises, threats, and ultimatums that were used in international negotiations, whether those promises, threats, and ultimatums were followed through on, and the eventual outcomes of the negotiations. We also attempted to gather data about the public opinion of the negotiations and the leader’s strategies, but such data was not consistently available across countries and so it was eventually dropped from the priorities of the project. Although there is still more analysis to be done, current results indicate that the United States do not have different outcomes in negotiations than other countries.

I gained firsthand experience in research in the social sciences, furthering my interest in international relations and political science. With the guidance of Professor Brutger, I learned about the research process, from the initial start of a project to determining conclusions in the end. This opportunity was incredibly valuable for my academic development at Penn.