Danielle Lupton, Ph.D.


Colgate University

Country: United States (New York)

About Me:

Danielle Lupton is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Colgate University. She earned her Ph.D. in Political Science from Duke University in 2014. Her research investigates the impact of individual leaders on international security and foreign policy. More specifically, she is interested in how the behavior and characteristics of individuals affect the onset of interstate conflict, as well as how leaders use the tools of coercion to pursue their foreign policies. Her book, Reputation for Resolve: How Leaders Signal Determination in International Politics (forthcoming, Cornell University Press) examines how new leaders establish reputations during international negotiations and crisis. Her primary secondary research project investigates the influence of military veterans in Congress. Her research specialties include elite decision-making, reputation, coercion, political psychology, foreign policy, and crisis bargaining. 

Research Interests

Foreign Policy

Political Psychology

Conflict Processes & War

Nuclear Weapons

Experimental Research

Legislative Politics

International Leaders


Resolve And Credibility

Veterans In Congress

Countries of Interest

United States

My Research:

Danielle Lupton's research agenda investigates how leaders affect the conduct of international security. Broadly speaking, her work considers the conditions under which these individuals substantively impact the escalation, onset, and duration of international conflict as well as how the characteristics of these individuals impact their states' national security and foreign policies. Her book, Reptuation for Resolve: How Leaders Signal Determination in International Politics, will be available from Cornell University Press in March 2020. Her research is published or forthcoming in Political AnalysisInternational InteractionsPolitical Research Quarterly, and The Journal of Global Security Studies. Her work has been featured on ForeignPolicy.com and The Washington Post's Monkey Cage, and her media appearances include CNN and The New York Times. She is also a permanent contributor to Political Violence @ a Glance, where she engages in policy analysis of current events and international problems.


Journal Articles:

(2018) Reexamining Reputation for Resolve: Leaders, States, and the Onset of International Crises, Journal of Global Security Studies

Scholars remain conflicted over the effects of reputations for resolve on international conflict and which actors acquire these reputations. I address this debate by examining how our measures of resolve, as well as where we look for its effects, influence our conclusions about its impact on international conflict. Using data from the Archigos dataset and the International Crisis Behavior dataset, I perform a semi-parametric Cox survival analysis and directly compare the effects of resolute and irresolute behavior at two distinct levels of analysis: the leader level of analysis and the state level of analysis. My results show that target leaders who employ relatively more violent or more severe major responses to dispute triggers enjoy significantly longer periods of time before being the target of a future dispute initiated by the same challenger leader. While I also find a similar effect for target states that employ relatively more severe responses, the impact of resolute behavior at the state level of analysis does not appear to be as consistently widespread as that of resolute behavior at the leader level of analysis. My findings also show that how scholars choose to measure resolve as a concept can have important implications for their conclusions about its broader effects. Finally, my analyses present evidence that both leaders and states may be capable of acquiring reputations for resolve, opening up interesting avenues of future research.

(2018) Signaling Resolve: Leaders, Reputations, and the Importance of Early Interactions, International Interactions

How do leaders develop reputations for resolve across repeated interactions? While scholars find that leaders can acquire individual reputations for resolve, we know relatively little about how these leader-specific reputations form to begin with. This article examines how leaders develop reputations for resolve from the very beginning of their tenures and present three key hypotheses regarding these leader-specific reputations. First, statements are more influential to reputational assessments during initial interactions. Second, statements create expectations of future behavior, which interact with a leader’s subsequent actions to influence reputation development. Third, initial perceptions of resolve significantly condition later assessments. Through a process tracing survey experiment, I find evidence that resolute statements are more substantively influential during early interactions. I also find early perceptions of resolve do significantly influence later perceptions. Furthermore, statements create expectations of future behavior, and it is by meeting or defying these expectations that a leader’s reputation for resolve is improved or injured within the experiment. These results remain robust even when controlling for contextual factors, including state characteristics. The implications of these findings for both scholars and policy makers are discussed, and this study illustrates how individual leaders develop these reputations for resolve across interactions.

(2018) Embedded Deception: Interpersonal Trust, Cooperative Expectations, and the Sharing of Fabricated Intelligence, Journal of Global Security Studies

When and why do friendly states deliberately share and unwittingly accept fabricated intelligence about others? Recent work on the interpersonal foundations of security cooperation suggests intelligence liaison is a type of embedded relationship that requires a dependable route for exchange (close personal ties) and a consistent record of exchange (reliably meeting expectations). We extend this argument to show that the relational embeddedness underpinning truthful intelligence liaison also explains the sharing of fabricated intelligence. We argue that intimate personal relations and a history of reliable exchange create a channel for effectively transmitting false information, for the recipient is unlikely to challenge its authenticity, and that violated cooperative expectations provide a reason for attempting to deceive a partner. Drawing on extensive archival research, we evaluate our theory by analyzing Britain's decision to share fabricated intelligence about Germany with the United States in 1941.

(2017) Out of the Service, Into the House: Military Experience and Congressional War Oversight, Political Research Quarterly

While evidence from international security and civil-military relations shows that elites with military experience have distinct policy preferences from elites who have not served in the armed forces, the effects of military service are not apparent in congressional voting records on foreign and defense policy. If elites with military experience have distinct policy preferences, why has this gap failed to manifest itself in congressional policy positions? I argue that the effects of military service are most pronounced on issues where this experience is highly salient: on the oversight of war operations. Using a pooled cross-sectional time-series analysis of an index of roll call votes in the House of Representatives during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, I find that congresspersons with military experience are significantly more likely to vote to increase congressional oversight over war operations, including increased access to information and limiting the deployment of troops in theater. Further tests confirm these findings are not simply due to partisan effects. I discuss how my results carry serious implications for war termination and the declining number of veterans in Congress during the post-9/11 era, as well as the impact of military service on foreign policy and international security.

Books Written:

(2020) Reputation for Resolve: How Leaders Signal Determination in World Politics, Cornell University Press

How do reputations form in international politics? What influence do these reputations have over the conduct of international affairs? In Reputation for Resolve, Danielle L. Lupton takes a new approach to answering these enduring and hotly debated questions by shifting the focus away from the reputations of states and instead examining the reputations of individual world leaders. Lupton argues that new leaders establish personal reputations for resolve that are separate from the reputations of their predecessors and of their states. Using innovative survey experiments and in-depth archival research into American-Soviet relations, Lupton finds that leaders acquire personal reputations for resolve based on their foreign policy statements and behavior. Furthermore, she shows that statements create expectations of how a leader will react to foreign policy crises in the future. How leaders follow up their early statements of resolve with concrete action critically affects whether they are perceived as resolute or irresolute. Leaders who fail to meet expectations of resolute action face harsh reputational consequences that affect their ability to achieve their foreign policy goals. Reputation for Resolve challenges the often-publicized view that reputations do not matter in international politics. In sharp contrast, Lupton shows that the reputations for resolve of individual leaders influence the strategies statesmen pursue during diplomatic interactions and crises, delineating specific steps policymakers can take to avoid reputations for irresolute action. Thus, Lupton demonstrates that reputations for resolve do exist and can influence the conduct of international security. As a whole, Reputation for Resolve reframes our understanding of the influence of leaders and their rhetoric on crisis bargaining and the role reputations play in international politics.

Media Appearances:

TV Appearances:

(2018) CNN

Live interview on CNN - commentary on how veterans in Congress influence Congressional oversight of war operations.

Radio Appearances:

(2018) POTUS Radio Show with Michael Smerconish

Commentary on influence of veterans in Congress on constraining Trump's foreign policy

(2018) War on the Rocks - Warcast

Commentary on the reputational effects of Trump's air strikes against Syria.

Newspaper Quotes:

(2018) The New York Times

Commentary on how the public and statesmen make judgments about foreign leaders and how those judgments can be difficult to change once established.

Blog Posts:

(2017) The Washington Post's Monkey Cage

Commentary on Trump's attempts to signal American resolve to North Korea. Special focus on Trump's use of rhetoric. With Roseanne McManus and Keren Yarhi-Milo.

(2017) The Washington Post's Monkey Cage

Commentary on Congressional debate over the Reauthorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF). Special focus on the impact of military veterans in Congress.

(2016) Foreign Policy

Commentary cautioning political candidates to avoid making bombastic threats or promises that they later may not be able to keep. Special emphasis on Trump's campaign rhetoric.