Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Political Science

First Advisor

Benjamin Jones

Second Advisor

Susan Allen

Third Advisor

Lauren Ferry


University of Mississippi

Relational Format



The dissertation explores the relationship between domestic politics and the choice of international venue for economic sanctions and trade disputes, utilizing the concept of forum shopping. The research argues that forum shopping is not only an outward, but also an inward looking endeavor, shaped by the government’s need to communicate with its domestic audience. The research identifies two main domestic constituencies – the public and economic groups – that influence the government’s behavior with regard to forum shopping. Empirical analysis reveals that when facing pressure from the domestic public, governments tend to choose larger and more legitimate international organizations for sanctions in order to sway public opinion, whereas when facing pressure from economic groups, they tend to choose smaller and more effective organizations to reassure them. The research further demonstrates that both democratic and autocratic regimes exhibit similar behavioral patterns while forum shopping for sanctions. In addition, to test the proposed theory in a different context and demonstrate the wider applicability of forum shopping as a response to domestic considerations, the research also examines the case of trade disputes. Empirical analysis shows that when faced with intensified public opinion, governments tend to select the World Trade Organization (WTO) for trade disputes over regional trade organizations. The dissertation highlights the importance of domestic politics in shaping international behavior and underscores the need for scholars to pay greater attention to the domestic sources of foreign policy.

Available for download on Thursday, July 24, 2025