Skip Navigation
UT wordmark
College of Liberal Arts wordmark
government masthead
Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

International Relations

Daniel McCormack. International Relations / American Government / Formal Theory. Dissertation: Protection From Themselves: International Hierarchy and Domestic Politics (McDonald, Chapman, Findley, Lawrence, Wolford). My dissertation asks what the implications of international hierarchy are for politics within subordinate states. In contrast to existing research which focuses on the implications of hierarchical relationships for interstate politics, I argue that these relationships profoundly shape domestic politics within subordinate states as well. I analyze a formal bargaining model to explain when states will undertake strategies of hierarchy construction within other countries. From a common set of assumptions, I identify four mechanisms -- wars of regime change, subsidized abdication, civil war intervention, and proxy wars -- by which states attempt to reshape domestic politics within targeted polities. Empirically, I first show that patterns of domestic regime turnover are explained by punctuations in external support: leaders often willingly leave office when external actors shift support to other domestic groups. Second, I find that the threat of post-regime change intervention by powerful states shapes the willingness of groups to compete for office. I use a novel research design linking the provision of foreign aid to unobserved threats of coercion, finding that a credible threat of intervention leads to a reduction in aid levels. The effect of hierarchy on political competition within subordinate states implies that comparative political analysis failing to take into account interstate influence risks theoretical and empirical misspecification. Education: Doctoral candidate at the University of Texas at Austin. M.A. (2012) from the University of Texas at Austin. B.A. (2009) from Oklahoma Christian University. Awards: McDonald Dissertation Fellowship (2014); University Continuing Fellowship (2013-2014); Clements Center Graduate Fellow (2013-present). Teaching Interests: international security, foreign policy, international political economy, international organization. Email: Web:

bottom border