Essays on Political Control Over the Military in Civil-Military Relations
How do we conceptualize and precisely measure the effort of political leaders to control the military? Which external factors impact the degree to which political leaders seek to exert control over the military? And what effect does political control effort have on the survival of a national leader? My dissertation aims to address these three research questions through a quantitative analysis of a large-N sample size.
Three research papers constitute my dissertation. The first essay, titled "Civilian Control Endeavor: Concept and Measurement," proposes that civilian political control endeavor is a latent continuous variable with multiple dimensions. Civilian control endeavor refers to a political leader’s efforts to reduce the military’s influence in policy decision-making and prevent the military from participating in politics. I evaluate the various levels of political control effort using Bayesian Item Response Theory (IRT).
The second essay is titled "Civil Control Endeavor in the Shadow of External Security Threats." I investigate whether external security threats impact political control efforts. When political leaders perceive a significant external security threat, they relax their efforts to diminish the military’s political influence. On the other hand, when political leaders encounter a peaceful external security environment, they attempt to reduce the military’s influence.
The third essay, “Civilian Control Endeavor and Political Leader Survival,” argues that a high degree of political control endeavor reduces the likelihood of a political leader being ousted irregularly. Political control endeavor at a high level deters the military not only from staging a coup against the leader, but also from collaborating with other political forces to topple the leader. A strong degree of political control endeavor, on the other hand, exacerbates military discontent. And, the enraged military departs the leader when a leader is confronted with a significant mass movement.