Imitation in International Relations: Analogies, Vicarious Learning, and Foreign Policy

International interactions 29.3 (2003): 237-267

Posted: 3 May 2015

See all articles by Benjamin E. Goldsmith

Benjamin E. Goldsmith

School of Politics & International Relations - Australian National University

Date Written: 2003

Abstract

Do states learn from other states' experiences in international relations? This is the expectation of prominent theories. But empirical research indicates that foreign policy learning is based overwhelmingly on direct experience. I argue that vicarious learning has not been uncovered because we have not known where to look: there has been no well-developed theory leading to falsifiable expectations. Here I suggest a theory and test it on data for foreign policy beliefs and analogies used by Ukrainian and Russian elites. The results indicate that learning from vicarious success, or imitation, has a strong impact on beliefs following a major failure. This has implications for foreign policy decision making and for concepts of interests and change in systemic theories of international relations.

Keywords: Foreign Policy, Learning, Analogies, Russia, Ukraine, Political Psychology

Suggested Citation

Goldsmith, Benjamin E., Imitation in International Relations: Analogies, Vicarious Learning, and Foreign Policy (2003). International interactions 29.3 (2003): 237-267, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2601720

Benjamin E. Goldsmith (Contact Author)

School of Politics & International Relations - Australian National University ( email )

Canberra
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://researchers.anu.edu.au/researchers/goldsmith-b

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