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Michaela Mattes

734 Social Sciences Building
Personal Statement

Michaela Mattes specializes in International Relations. Her research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of international conflict and cooperation. She focuses on two related sets of questions. First, she studies how adversaries manage and resolve disagreements between them. Much of her focus has been on the design and effects of security institutions, such as conflict management agreements and military alliances, in order to understand which types of agreements work, why they are effective, when they are more or less likely to succeed, and why they are designed the way they are. More recently, she has been working on how hostile countries reconcile in the absence of binding agreements. This research looks at reconciliation overtures between adversaries as well as at international apologies. Second, she examines the role of domestic politics in countries’ foreign policy behavior and especially their willingness and ability to pursue international cooperation.

Mattes was a Co-PI on an NSF-funded data collection project on changes in leaders' domestic supporting coalitions and a Co-PI on a DoD Minerva-funded project on domestic security institutions. Her work has appeared in the American Journal of Political Science, International Organization, Journal of Politics, International Studies Quarterly, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Peace Research, and Conflict Management and Peace Science. She is also an affiliate of the UC Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, the Institute for International Studies, the Institute of European Studies, and the Center on the Politics of Development


Academic Subfields
Research Interests
International Conflict and Cooperation
Conflict Management
Institutional Design
Domestic Politics and International Relations
Ph.D., Political Science, Rice University
M.A., International Relations, University of Essex

“Domestic Interests, Democracy, and Foreign Policy Change” (with Brett Ashley Leeds). Cambridge University Press, Elements in International Relations Series.


“From Foes to Friends: The Causes of Interstate Rapprochement and Conciliation.” (with Jessica L. P. Weeks). Annual Review of Political Science 27 (2024).

“Reacting to the Olive Branch: Hawks, Doves, and Foreign Responses to Cooperation” (with Jessica L. P. Weeks). International Organization 76(4): 957-976.

“Policing Institutions and Post-Conflict Peace.” (with Leonardo R. Arriola, David Dow, and Aila M. Matanock). Journal of Conflict Resolution 65(10): 1738-1763.

“Hawks, Doves, and Peace: An Experimental Approach.” (with Jessica L. P. Weeks). American Journal of Political Science 63(1): 53-66 (January 2019).

“Chipping Away at the Issues: Piecemeal Dispute Resolution and Territorial Conflict.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 62(1): 94-118 (January 2018).

“Measuring Change in Source of Leader Support: The CHISOLS Dataset” (with Brett Ashley Leeds and Naoko Matsumura). Journal of Peace Research 53(2): 259-267 (March 2016).

“Leadership Turnover and Foreign Policy Change: Societal Interests, Domestic Institutions, and Voting in the United Nations” (with Royce Carroll and Brett Ashley Leeds). International Studies Quarterly 59(2): 280-290 (June 2015).

“Autocracies and International Cooperation.” (with Mariana Rodríguez). International Studies Quarterly 58(3): 527-538 (September 2014).

“Reputation, Symmetry, and Alliance Design.” International Organization 66(4): 679-707 (October 2012).

“Democratic Reliability, Precommitment of Successor Governments, and the Choice of Alliance Commitment.” International Organization 66(1): 153-172 (January 2012).

“Contracting for Peace: Do Nonaggression Pacts Reduce Conflict?” (with Greg Vonnahme). Journal of Politics 72(4): 925-938 (October 2010).

“Information, Agreement Design, and the Durability of Civil War Settlements” (with Burcu Savun). American Journal of Political Science 54(2): 511-524 (April 2010).

“Fostering Peace after Civil War: Commitment Problems and Agreement Design” (with Burcu Savun). International Studies Quarterly 53(3): 737-759 (September 2009).

“Interests, Institutions, and the Reliability of International Commitments” (with Brett Ashley Leeds and Jeremy S. Vogel). American Journal of Political Science 53(2): 461-476 (April 2009).

“The Effect of Changing Conditions and Agreement Provisions on Conflict and Renegotiation between States with Competing Claims.” International Studies Quarterly 52(2): 315-334 (June 2008).

“Alliance Politics During the Cold War: Aberration, New World Order, or Continuation of History?” (with Brett Ashley Leeds). Conflict Management and Peace Science 24(3): 183-199 (Fall 2007).

“When Do They Stop? Modeling the Termination of War” (with T. Clifton Morgan). Conflict Management and Peace Science 21(3): 179-193 (Fall 2004).



“Change in Source of Leader Support (CHISOLS)” Data (Brett Ashley Leeds and Michaela Mattes, Co-PIs):

We have collected data to differentiate leadership transitions in which a new leader comes to power who depends on different societal groups for support than her predecessor from leadership transitions where both the current leader and her predecessor rely on essentially the same groups for support. The data cover all countries with a population of more than 500,000 and span the period 1919-2018. The data and supporting materials can be found at

This data collection effort was sponsored by the National Science Foundation (SES: 0921781; Collaborative Research “Interests, Institutions, and Foreign Policy Change”).