Diplomats and Bureaucrats in International Relations

Jun 2, 2023, 9:00 amJun 3, 2023, 4:30 pm
Restricted to Princeton University, Registration Required


Event Description

Much of the work of interstate relations is ultimately carried out by bureaucrats. Individual officers within diplomatic, military, and intelligence bureaucracies, trade and investment agencies, and international organizations play vital roles in global commerce, cooperation, and governance. Yet, despite their ubiquity in the conduct of international politics, foreign policy bureaucrats have only recently become a major focus of international relations scholarship.  

A focus on bureaucratic agents and institutions allows for more rigorous testing of established international relations theories, and opens up a world of new research questions: for example, how and when are foreign policy bureaucrats able to exert independent influence over political outcomes? What pathologies—perhaps generated by the incentive for career advancement—exist within these bureaucracies, and what are their consequences? How does the institutional design of foreign policy bureaucracies influence a state’s foreign relations? This workshop brings together scholars using innovative methods and new data to study diplomats and other foreign policy bureaucrats, in order to both facilitate discussion and collaboration, and to catalyze the coherence of an emerging field of study.


Friday, June 2, 2023

8:00am Breakfast

9:00 – 10:30am:  Panel I

Paper 1 (9:00-9:45am): 

  • Lula Chen, Decision-making in U.S. National Security Councils: Evidence from the Ford and Nixon Administrations
  • Discussants: Josh Kertzer, Eric Min

Paper 2 (9:45-10:30am): 

  • Rob Schub, Advisory Influence in Foreign Policy Decision-Making (co-authored with Tyler Jost, Josh Kertzer, and Eric Min)
  • Discussants: Lula Chen, Matt Malis

10:30am: Coffee

10:45am-12:20pm:  Panel II

Paper 3 (10:45-11:30am): 

  • Justin Canfil, When Are Emerging Technologies "Compliant"? Soliciting Legal Advice in an Experimental Setting
  • Discussants: David Lindsey, Calvin Thrall

Paper 4 (11:30-11:55am):

  • Shannon Carcelli, Interpreting Dual-Use: Bureaucratic Politics in the Deployment of Nuclear Assistance
  • Discussant: Mike Goldfien

Paper 5 (11:55am-12:20pm): 

  • David Lindsey, Who Decides Who Gets In? Diplomats, Bureaucrats, and Visa Issuance
  • Discussant: David Steinberg

12:20pm:  Lunch

1:30-3:00pm:  Panel III

Paper 6 (1:30-2:15pm): 

  • Sabrina Arias, COVID-19, Digital Diplomacy, and Consensus-Building in International Organizations
  • Discussants: Svanhildur Thorvaldsdottir, Brian Rathbun

Paper 7 (2:15-3:00pm):

  • David Steinberg, Race, Representation, and the Legitimacy of International Organizations (co-authored with Daniel McDowell)
  • Discussants: Faisal Ahmed, Sabrina Arias

3:00pm:  Coffee


3:15-4:50pm:  Panel IV


Paper 8 (3:15-4:00pm): 

  • Mike Goldfien, Just Patronage? Familiarity and the Diplomatic Value of Non-Career Ambassadors
  • Discussants: Rob Schub, Brian Rathbun

Paper 9 (4:00-4:25pm): 

  • Xander Slaski, Securing trade: US commercial diplomacy with non-allies
  • Discussant: Clara Suong

Paper 10 (4:25-4:50pm): 

  • Clara Suong, The Cost of Not Being Pale, Male, and Yale: Ambassadorial Attributes and Influence
  • Discussant: Dan Spokojny

7:00pm Dinner (by invitation only)

Saturday, June 3, 2023

8:00am:  Breakfast

9:00-10:30am:  Panel V

Paper 11 (9:00-9:45am): 

  • Julia Gray, How International Organizations Survive: Bureaucratic Empowerment and Entrepreneurship
  • Discussants: Xander Slaski, Svanhildur Thorvaldsdottir

Paper 12 (9:45-10:30am): 

  • Svanhildur Thorvaldsdottir, State Influence on UN Multilateral Aid through Bureaucratic Ties
  • Discussants: Shannon Carcelli, David Steinberg

10:30am:  Coffee

10:45am-12:20pm:  Panel VI

Paper 13 (10:45-11:30am): 

  • Jenna Gibson, Gobbledygook or Genuine? Diplomatic Rhetoric, Bureaucracy, and Credible Signaling in International Relations
  • Discussants: Eric Min, Elizabeth Saunders

Paper 14 (11:30-11:55am):

  • Faisal Ahmed, Trump for sale: Evidence from diplomatic gifts
  • Discussant: Julia Gray

Paper 15 (11:55am-12:20pm): 

  • Calvin Thrall, The Bureaucratic Origins of International Law (co-authored with Matt Malis)
  • Discussant: Justin Canfil

12:20pm:  Lunch

1:30-3:00pm:  Panel VII

Paper 16 (1:30-2:15pm): 

  • Dan Spokojny, Foreign Policy Expertise
  • Discussants: Tyler Jost, Josh Kertzer

Paper 17 (2:15-3:00pm):

  • Tyler Jost, Bureaucratic Protection and Foreign Policy Information Provision in China (co-authored with Eric Min)
  • Discussants: Jenna Gibson, Naima Green-Riley

3:00pm Coffee

3:15-4:30pm:  Roundtable Discussion

  • Speakers: Julia Gray, Brian Rathbun, Elizabeth Saunders