Religious Discrimination and International Crises: International Effects of Domestic Inequality


  • We thank Nükhet Ahu Sandal and the anonymous reviewers of FPA for their helpful comments on earlier drafts. Please note that the name ordering is reverse alphabetical and does not denote unequal contribution.


This paper explores religious discrimination against ethnic groups and foreign policy crisis linkages as part of the broader foreign policy approaches developed by McGowan and Shapiro (1973) and James and Özdamar (2005, 2008). Informed by the literature suggesting that domestic policies of repression and inequality may result in similar patterns of behavior internationally, this study tests whether states characterized by high levels of religious discrimination against ethnoreligious minorities are more likely to initiate or become involved in foreign policy crises with other states in general. A broad range of data sources, including an independently collected religious discrimination index, are used to test the hypothesized relationship between religious discrimination and international crisis during the period 1990–2003. The results suggest that religious discrimination is an important predictor of initiating and becoming involved in international crises.