Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Political Science

First Advisor

Susan Allen

Second Advisor

Matthew DiGiuseppe

Third Advisor

Timothy Nordstrom


University of Mississippi

Relational Format



How do shifts in the distribution of power effect the foreign policy decisions of states? In this dissertation, I argue that shifts in the distribution of power, status quo dissatisfaction, and power parity work together to significantly impact these decisions. Until this time, the conditional effect of these three variables has only been included in studies of major- or regional-power war, within the theoretical framework of power transition theory. To what extent do these correlates of war apply to foreign policy in general? Borrowing the insights of foreign policy substitution and the logic of the bargaining theory of war, I theorize that rapid shifts in relative state power increase the likelihood that states will engage in economic foreign policy that is aimed at either preserving or altering the status quo distribution of benefits, whether the policy in question is used as a tool of coercion or one of enticement. A key motivating factor for this study is to test the argument, put forward by foreign policy substitution, that similar factors can lead to different policy outcomes. In the empirical analyses, I find general support for this claim.



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