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Do all lives have the same value ? Support for international military interventions as a function of political system and public opinion of target states

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Published in Group Processes & Intergroup Relations. 2012, vol. 15, no. 3, p. 347-362
Abstract This research examined the support for international military interventions as a function of the political system and the public opinion of the target country. In two experiments, we informed participants about a possible military intervention by the international community towards a sovereign country whose government planned to use military force against a secessionist region. They were then asked whether they would support this intervention whilst being reminded that it would cause civilian deaths. The democratic or nondemocratic political system of the target country was experimentally manipulated, and the population support for its belligerent government policy was either assessed (Experiment 1) or manipulated (Experiment 2). Results showed greater support for the intervention when the target country was nondemocratic, as compared to the democratic and the control conditions, but only when its population supported the belligerent government policy. Support for the external intervention was low when the target country was democratic, irrespective of national public opinion. These findings provide support for the democracy-as-value hypothesis applied to international military interventions, and suggest that civilian deaths (collateral damage) are more acceptable when nondemocratic populations support their government’s belligerent policy.
Keywords DemocracyGroup perceptionPublic opinionWar support
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Research group Groupe de recherche sur l'influence sociale (GRIS)
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FALOMIR PICHASTOR, Juan Manuel et al. Do all lives have the same value ? Support for international military interventions as a function of political system and public opinion of target states. In: Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 2012, vol. 15, n° 3, p. 347-362. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:21473

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Deposited on : 2012-06-04

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