††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††

The Impact of Leadership Turnover on Relations Between States

Fiona McGillivray 


Alastair Smith

Politics Department

New YorkUniversity

Contact: alastair.smith@nyu.edu

June 20th 2003

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††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Abstract

We test how domestic political institutions moderate the effect of leadership turnover on relations between states. Deriving hypotheses from recent theoretical work, Bueno de Mesquita et al (2003) and McGillivray and Smith (2000), we examine how leader change affects trading relations between nations using dyadic trade data. Consistent with hypotheses, we find that large winning coalition systems, such as democracies, are relatively immune from the vagaries of leadership change. In such systems, trade remains relatively constant whether leader change occurs or not. In contrast, when winning coalition size is small, as in autocratic states, leadership change profoundly alters relations, causing a decline in trade. Finally we examine instances of poor relations, measured by a significant decline in trade compared to historical levels. As predicted, instances of poor relations are less common between pairs of democracies than other dyadic pairing. Further, leadership turnover in autocratic systems restores trading relations between states. The effect of leadership change in democracies is much less pronounced.





An earlier version of this paper was prepared for the 2002 Peace Science Society meeting in TucsonArizona. We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the National Science Foundation, SES-0226926. We thank John Oneal and Bruce Russet for generously making their data available to us. We thank audiences at New YorkUniversity, the University of RochesterYaleUniversity and several anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.

This webpage contains data, batch files and additional results associated with this paper. 

The data

The basic trade data comes from Oneal, Russett and Berbaumís (2002). 

The leadership data comes from Bueno de Mesquita et. al. (2003), as does the institutional data and many of the controls. http://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/politics/data.shtml.The data are in STATA8 format. 

The variables names follow Oneal et. al. and Bueno de Mesquita et. al. with the addition of the labels A and B to represent the nations where appropriate. Tradeleaderchangedata.zip


Below are a few definitions for variable. There is a code book for the BdM2S2 data which defines all the variable in that data (see above website). The variables below are from Oneal et al.ís original trade data. We include the batch file used to compile the data. This provides definitions for all constructed variables. 

The variable trade is the level of trade between A and B in nominal US dollars.

The variable TRADE is the level of trade between A and B in constant US dollars. 

The price deflator is labeledctpi

ccodeA is COW country code for nation A. 

Year= calendar year. 

Contigkb = Nation A and B are contiguous.

Logdstab= log of distance between A and B. 

Popa= Population of nation A.

cgdpa = per capita GDP


The zip file here contains the code we used to compile the data and estimate the models. The main file is called trade_leader_change.do. All the programs are in STATA8 format. The first part of the program constructs the data. The latter half carries out analyses. (the file leader_tests.do contains tests from an earlier version of this paper). 

The file al_programs.do is called by the main program. This file contains procedure for recreating fixed effects and for the MLE procedures. Batch.zip


This zip file contains a variety of output files. The results in the paper are in the file main_results.smcl. There are also some additional output files. Output.zip


Bureau of Economic Analysisís (US department of Commerce, NIPA tables, 2003)

Oneal, John R., Bruce Russett and Michael Berbaum.(2002) "Causes of Peace: Democracy, Interdependence, and International Organizations, 1886-1992"International Studies Quarterly 47:1 (March 2003).

Bueno de Mesquita, B., A. Smith., R. M. Siverson and  J. D. Morrow. 2003. The Logic of Political Survival. MIT Press.