Date of Award

Fall 2022

Degree Type

Restricted to Claremont Colleges Dissertation

Degree Name

Political Science, PhD


School of Social Science, Politics, and Evaluation

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Jacek Kugler

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Yi Feng

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Melissa Rogers

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

David Arase

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2022 Jingjing An

Subject Categories

Political Science


Major conflicts between ascending challengers and dominant powers, competing for leadership in the international community, have profoundly altered the international structure. Political scientists’ efforts to propose generalizable theories about the causes of major conflicts often overlook domestic political factors and limitations of the empirical approaches. Thus, this dissertation proposes theories to understand how domestic political factors (domestic popular support for government leadership at the national level), international systemic conditions (external satisfaction with the status quo at the systemic level), and their interactions influence the likelihood of major conflicts between a dominant power and a competing power during the power transition period. This dissertation creates text data using dictionary-based textural analysis to measure the two key variables: domestic satisfaction and bilateral satisfaction. Using ordinal logistic regressions (the partial proportional odds models), this dissertation empirically estimates the effect of interactions between domestic and international factors on the likelihood of power transition conflicts. According to the empirical findings of this research, this study is in accordance with the power transition theory that power parity between challengers and defenders is highly likely to cause conflicts during power transition periods. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that a challenger’s domestic satisfaction interacting with bilateral satisfaction has a statistically significant effect on the likelihood of conflicts. The effect of domestic satisfaction, bilateral satisfaction, and their interactions vary across four categories of the outcome of power transitions. The interaction of challenger’s domestic and bilateral satisfaction tends to decrease the probability of conflicts, for the categories of major conflicts and confrontation, while the interaction tends to increase the likelihood of competition or cooperation. Challenger’s domestic satisfaction and bilateral satisfaction increase the likelihood of cooperation or competition; conversely, decreasing the likelihood of confrontation or major conflicts. The effects of challenger’s domestic satisfaction and bilateral satisfaction on the outcomes of power transitions are statistically insignificant, respectively.



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