Publication Details

Eidenfalk, J. 2006, 'Towards a new model of foreign policy change', in B. Goldsmith (eds), Australasian Political Studies Association Annual Conference, Australasian Political Studies Association, Newcastle.


Why do states change their foreign policy? Foreign Policy Change is a relatively young field, which has produced a number of theoretical models in order to explain what lies behind changes in a state’s foreign policy. This paper presents a recently developed foreign policy change model, containing independent, intervening and dependent variables. The independent variables are divided up into domestic and international sources of change, with nine further subcategories, which aim at identifying the factors that may or may not influence a government in its foreign policy decision-making. The next step investigated by the paper is the intervening variable, that is, the decision-making process. Specifically it examines the key decision-makers and tries to identify how they came to perceive a window of opportunity within the intervening variable category, possibly even starting the process themselves, in order to estimate their possible influence in this process. Finally, the model attempts to measure the extent of change by looking at the scope, domain, and effect of change. By applying this model to decisions that cause a foreign policy change, the actors and factors interacting and contributing to the change in foreign policy will be identified, leading to an explanation as to why the particular government changed its foreign policy, and finally allowing the amount of change to be estimated.