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New book on foreign ministers by Hanna Bäck, Alejandro Quiroz Flores and Jan Teorell

Book cover of Cambridge Elements, illustration.

Foreign ministers are prominent actors in foreign affairs, often second only to heads of government in their influence. Yet, despite the growing awareness of the importance of key actors in the study of international relations, foreign ministers remain understudied.

In a recently published book, Bäck and colleagues present an original dataset on the background of foreign ministers, spanning thirteen countries and more than 200 years. Analyzing these data, they find that foreign ministers tend to be men of politics who are appointed both on the basis of their affinity to, and to complement the experiences of, the head of government. They also find that foreign ministers stay longer in office when they perform well, but that they lose their posts when leaders 'pin blame' on them to deflect criticism from foreign policy failures.

Authors: Hanna Bäck, Alejandro Quiroz Flores och Jan Teorell

Title: The Selection and Tenure of Foreign Ministers Around the World

(Elements in International Relations, Cambridge University Press)