Brett Ashley Leeds and Michaela Mattes, professors of political science at Rice University and the University of California, Berkeley, respectively, have created a data set called “Change in Source of Leader Support,” (CHISOLS) detailing how changes in the influence of social groups can affect foreign policy decisions. When a country instates a new national leader, his or her foreign policy decisions reflect the interests of the social groups that support him or her, rather than groups that supported his or her predecessor. CHISOLS can help academics and policymakers better understand how shifting domestic political priorities are related to foreign policy decisions and better predict changes in these policies. The data set includes all countries with a population over 500,000 and spans from 1919 to 2008, totalling 2,414 national leaders overall.
Image: Cecil W. Stoughton.