Why Costly Rivalry Disputes Persist: A Paired Conjoint Experiment in Japan and South Korea

Sijeong Lim, Seiki Tanaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The literature suggests that voters have a self-centered incentive to call for the de-escalation of conflicts that inflict economic costs on them, which explains why economic sanctions and trade wars often lose popular support when the resulting cost for the domestic economy rises. It is thus puzzling why some costly disputes between two advanced democracies are prolonged. Taking a psychological approach, we argue that nonviolent yet costly disputes between international rivals can fail to de-escalate because the perception of loss invokes anger and risk-taking attitudes. We test our argument using a paired conjoint experiment involving Japan and South Korea. We find that, in both countries, the public becomes more defiant and less supportive of de-escalating an ongoing dispute when informed about (1) the high cost of the trade restrictions on domestic firms, (2) international (i.e., World Trade Organization) support for the rival country, and (3) the rival public's hardline stance on the dispute. These findings lend support to our psychological explanation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbersqac063
JournalInternational Studies Quarterly
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Dec 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s) (2022). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Studies Association.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


Dive into the research topics of 'Why Costly Rivalry Disputes Persist: A Paired Conjoint Experiment in Japan and South Korea'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this