The Effect of International Involvement on State-Society Relations: The Case of the Palestinian Territories

By Dana El Kurd
Submitted to Session P4407 (Experimental Methods in the Middle East, 2016 Annual Meeting
Pol Science
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What is the effect of international involvement on state-society relations? Previous work has argued that international involvement can disrupt the “feedback loop” between the regime and society, as political elites become insulated from their domestic audiences. This paper examines whether international involvement does in fact affect state-society relations by focusing on changes in preferences for democracy. To test this theory, this paper uses an original survey experiment in the Palestinian territories, conducted at both the elite and public level. The public level component utilizes a representative sample of 1200 Palestinians, and the elite level component utilizes survey experiments conducted with decision-makers within the Palestinian Authority. Using this comparison, this paper finds that preferences for democracy do in fact diverge when the role of international involvement is highlighted specifically. Such evidence suggests that international involvement causes a principle agent problem within the domestic regime, and thus a divergence in the interests of regime participants and the society they purport to represent.