2022-23 Lloyd & Susanne Rudolph Field Research Fellow



Project Title: Democratic Discord: Why and How Leaders and Bureaucrats Fight over Foreign Policy




How does the interaction between elected leaders and bureaucrats impact foreign policymaking? Political scientists in American and comparative politics have shown that the relationship between leaders and bureaucrats is often plagued by suspicion, fear, and rivalry. Yet when and how the relationship between a leader and the foreign policy bureaucracy turns sour remains undertheorized in international relations, as are the foreign policy implications thereof. Using a comparative case study approach, I trace the implications of leader-bureaucracy conflict through archival materials and interviews with policymakers and bureaucrats in India, the United States, and other democracies with substantial foreign policy establishments. I argue that leaders want to maximize their control over foreign policy choices with the fewest concessions possible to other elites, including bureaucrats. When leaders and foreign policy bureaucrats are at odds, leaders may reduce the autonomy of the bureaucracy, reallocate personnel and other resources, alter bureaucratic norms, or sideline deliberative bodies to ensure their decisions are faithfully implemented. The strategies leaders select will depend on leaders’ pre-tenure beliefs about trustworthiness of the country’s foreign policy bureaucrats and the political consolidation of the bureaucracy.  





Emily Tallo is a Ph.D. student in political science at the University of Chicago. Her research focuses on the domestic politics of international relations and democratic foreign policy behavior, with a regional focus on South Asia. Her dissertation research is on the conflictual dynamics between leaders and foreign policy bureaucrats in democracies. Formerly, she was a researcher at the Stimson Center’s South Asia program in Washington, DC. Her commentary has been featured in Foreign Policy, The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog, War on the Rocks, The Wire, and The Diplomat. She holds a B.S. in International Studies from Indiana University and an M.A. in political science from the University of Chicago. 


Read more at their department profile: https://political-science.uchicago.edu/directory/emily-tallo