Skip to main content

Tying Hands, Sinking Costs, and Leader Attributes

Author(s): Yarhi-Milo, Keren; Kertzer, Joshua D; Renshon, Jonathan

To refer to this page use:
Abstract: © The Author(s) 2018. Do costly signals work? Despite their widespread popularity, both hands-tying and sunk-cost signaling have come under criticism, and there’s little direct evidence that leaders understand costly signals the way our models tell us they should. We present evidence from a survey experiment fielded on a unique sample of elite decision makers from the Israeli Knesset. We find that both types of costly signaling are effective in shaping assessments of resolve for both leaders and the public. However, although theories of signaling tend to assume homogenous audiences, we show that leaders vary significantly in how credible they perceive signals to be, depending on their foreign policy dispositions, rather than their levels of military or political experience. Our results thus encourage international relations scholars to more fully bring heterogeneous recipients into our theories of signaling and point to the important role of dispositional orientations for the study of leaders.
Publication Date: 21-Oct-2018
Citation: Yarhi-Milo, K, Kertzer, JD, Renshon, J. (2018). Tying Hands, Sinking Costs, and Leader Attributes. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 62 (10), 2150 - 2179. doi:10.1177/0022002718785693
DOI: doi:10.1177/0022002718785693
ISSN: 0022-0027
EISSN: 1552-8766
Pages: 1 - 53
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Journal of Conflict Resolution
Version: Author's manuscript

Items in OAR@Princeton are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.