When War Hits Home: The Geography of Military Losses and Support for War in Time and Space

Scott Althaus, Brittany H. Bramlett, James G. Gimpel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The "proximate casualties" hypothesis holds that popular support for American wars is undermined more by the deaths of American personnel from nearby areas than by the deaths of those from far away. However, no previous research has tested the mechanisms that might produce this effect. This omission contributes to three areas of lingering uncertainty within the war support literature: whether national or local losses have a greater effect on war support, whether the negative effects of war deaths are durable or temporary, and whether the negative effects of war deaths have a greater influence on the most or least attentive citizens. Analysis of Iraq War data shows that local losses have a greater effect on war support than national losses, that these casualty effects decay rapidly, and that citizens who closely follow news at the national and local levels are least affected by new information about war costs. These findings run contrary to the prevailing cost-benefit calculus model of war support.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)382-412
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Conflict Resolution
Volume56
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2012

Fingerprint

Military
geography
death
citizen
time
Geography
costs
Iraq
personnel
news
uncertainty

Keywords

  • Iraq
  • casualties
  • public opinion
  • spatial analysis
  • war support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

Cite this

When War Hits Home : The Geography of Military Losses and Support for War in Time and Space. / Althaus, Scott; Bramlett, Brittany H.; Gimpel, James G.

In: Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 56, No. 3, 01.06.2012, p. 382-412.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{8270d596e33f48bab21ef6d87fca80d3,
title = "When War Hits Home: The Geography of Military Losses and Support for War in Time and Space",
abstract = "The {"}proximate casualties{"} hypothesis holds that popular support for American wars is undermined more by the deaths of American personnel from nearby areas than by the deaths of those from far away. However, no previous research has tested the mechanisms that might produce this effect. This omission contributes to three areas of lingering uncertainty within the war support literature: whether national or local losses have a greater effect on war support, whether the negative effects of war deaths are durable or temporary, and whether the negative effects of war deaths have a greater influence on the most or least attentive citizens. Analysis of Iraq War data shows that local losses have a greater effect on war support than national losses, that these casualty effects decay rapidly, and that citizens who closely follow news at the national and local levels are least affected by new information about war costs. These findings run contrary to the prevailing cost-benefit calculus model of war support.",
keywords = "Iraq, casualties, public opinion, spatial analysis, war support",
author = "Scott Althaus and Bramlett, {Brittany H.} and Gimpel, {James G.}",
year = "2012",
month = "6",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1177/0022002711422340",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "56",
pages = "382--412",
journal = "Journal of Conflict Resolution",
issn = "0022-0027",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Inc.",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - When War Hits Home

T2 - The Geography of Military Losses and Support for War in Time and Space

AU - Althaus, Scott

AU - Bramlett, Brittany H.

AU - Gimpel, James G.

PY - 2012/6/1

Y1 - 2012/6/1

N2 - The "proximate casualties" hypothesis holds that popular support for American wars is undermined more by the deaths of American personnel from nearby areas than by the deaths of those from far away. However, no previous research has tested the mechanisms that might produce this effect. This omission contributes to three areas of lingering uncertainty within the war support literature: whether national or local losses have a greater effect on war support, whether the negative effects of war deaths are durable or temporary, and whether the negative effects of war deaths have a greater influence on the most or least attentive citizens. Analysis of Iraq War data shows that local losses have a greater effect on war support than national losses, that these casualty effects decay rapidly, and that citizens who closely follow news at the national and local levels are least affected by new information about war costs. These findings run contrary to the prevailing cost-benefit calculus model of war support.

AB - The "proximate casualties" hypothesis holds that popular support for American wars is undermined more by the deaths of American personnel from nearby areas than by the deaths of those from far away. However, no previous research has tested the mechanisms that might produce this effect. This omission contributes to three areas of lingering uncertainty within the war support literature: whether national or local losses have a greater effect on war support, whether the negative effects of war deaths are durable or temporary, and whether the negative effects of war deaths have a greater influence on the most or least attentive citizens. Analysis of Iraq War data shows that local losses have a greater effect on war support than national losses, that these casualty effects decay rapidly, and that citizens who closely follow news at the national and local levels are least affected by new information about war costs. These findings run contrary to the prevailing cost-benefit calculus model of war support.

KW - Iraq

KW - casualties

KW - public opinion

KW - spatial analysis

KW - war support

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84861745286&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84861745286&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1177/0022002711422340

DO - 10.1177/0022002711422340

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84861745286

VL - 56

SP - 382

EP - 412

JO - Journal of Conflict Resolution

JF - Journal of Conflict Resolution

SN - 0022-0027

IS - 3

ER -