About Me


Welcome! I am an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Colgate University. My research focuses on elite decision-making and the role of individual leaders in international security. More specifically, I am interested in how the behavior and characteristics of individuals affect the onset of interstate conflict, as well as how leaders use the tools of coercion to pursue their foreign policies. My research specialties include   elite decision-making, resolve in international security, civil-military relations, political psychology, and experimental methods. 

My dissertation and now book project, Leaders, Perceptions, and Reputations for Resolve, received the Frederic M. Jablin Doctoral Dissertation award. In this project, I examine how leaders establish their reputations for resolve through repeated interactions from the beginning of their tenures. I argue that what leaders say early in their tenures, how they say it, and how they follow-up these statements with their actions is critical to the formation of their reputations for resolve. My theory also considers how the context in which leaders interact with each other affects the formation of these reputations. I test my theory against alternative explanations through the use of two distinct survey experiments and two historical case studies in Soviet-American foreign relations. My findings illuminate the processes by which leaders acquire reputations for resolute or irresolute action, how leaders can best communicate their resolve through their statements and behavior, and how these perceptions of resolve influence the diplomatic and crisis bargaining strategies leaders pursue. 

My research has been featured in Political Research Quarterly and on ForeignPolicy.comI am also a contributor to Political Violence @ a GlanceFor more information about my research, please see my CV or visit my research page. 

If you are interested in learning more about my research or teaching please contact me at: dlupton@colgate.edu