Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

Contact Details

Dr Yoshiharu Kobayashi

Lecturer in Research Methods

I received my Ph.D in Political Science from Rice University in 2013.

Before starting my position in POLIS, I taught international relations and research methods at Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan.

Research Interests

My research examines the interplay between domestic politics and foreign policy. I am particularly interested in how public opinion distorts politicians' incentives in a way that results in seemingly irrational policy decisions. In my projects, I analyse various survey data to examine citizens' attitudes toward economic sanctions and foreign aid. My future research examines how public opinion influences foreign policy decisions.

My work also examines unintended consequences of foreign policy decisions. In one project, I conduct surveys to analyse the effects of the recent Western sanctions on Russia on domestic politics and civil conflict in Ukraine as well as on Ukraine-Russia relations.

I am also interested in the impact that non-traditional security threats, e.g. natural disasters, terrorism, civil wars, have on politics. One of my current projects examines how natural disasters affect individuals' voting behaviour.


I teach on the following modules:

  • Approaches to Analysis (PIED2721)
  • Politics of Aid (PIED3206)

My office hours are:

  • Wednesday 14:00 - 15:00
  • Thursday 13:00 - 15:00

PhD Supervision

I welcome applications from candidates in the area of:

  • Foreign aid
  • Foreign policy
  • Conflict processes

Key Publications

Journal articles

  • Heinrich T, Kobayashi Y, Long L, ‘Voters Get What They Want (When They Pay Attention): Human Rights, Policy Benefits, and Foreign Aid’, International Studies Quarterly, 62.1 (2018), 195-207
    DOI: 10.1093/isq/sqx081, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/126204/

    How do the human rights practices abroad affect decisions about the allocation of foreign aid? This article provides a new approach to this long-standing question. We bring donor government, donor citizens, and recipients’ attributes together in a single analytical framework. We argue that donor citizens are more self-serving than previously assumed; they do not wholeheartedly support their government punishing human rights abusers when those states provide important policy benefits. When donor governments believe that their citizens will hold them accountable for their policy choices, they make foreign aid decisions that mirror citizens’ self-serving policy preferences. Thus, they avoid punishing repressive regimes that are the sources of valuable benefits. Our experimental and observational results provide support for our claims. Overall, our findings suggest that aid donors selectively punish human rights violators with aid cuts, but their variegated treatment of human rights violators largely stems from the self-serving policy preferences of their voters.

  • Heinrich T, Kobayashi Y, ‘How Do People Evaluate Foreign Aid To ‘Nasty’ Regimes?’, British Journal of Political Science 2017
    DOI: 10.1017/S0007123417000503, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/126195/

    Recent theories of foreign aid assume that moral motives drive voters’ preferences about foreign aid. However, little is known about how moral concerns interact with the widely accepted instrumental goals that aid serves. Moreover, what effects does this interplay have on preferences over policy actions? This article assesses these questions using a survey experiment in which respondents evaluate foreign aid policies toward nasty recipient regimes (those that violate human rights, rig elections, crack down on media, etc.). The results indicate that the public does have a strong aversion to providing aid to nasty recipient regimes, but that it also appreciates the instrumental benefits that aid helps acquire. Contrary to a mainstay assertion in the literature, the study finds that moral aversion can largely be reversed if the donor government engages more with the nasty country. These findings call into question the micro-foundations of recent theories of foreign aid, and produce several implications for the aid literature.

  • Heinrich T, Kobayashi Y, Peterson TM, ‘Sanction Consequences and Citizen Support: A Survey Experiment’, International Studies Quarterly, 61.1 (2017), 98-106
    DOI: 10.1093/isq/sqw019, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/126199/

    Recent research disputes the conventional wisdom that “sanctions do not work.” It demonstrates that states may impose sanctions for purposes beyond seeking an immediate change in the behavior of targeted regimes. For example, democratic leaders often impose sanctions to satisfy their own domestic constituencies. However, we know little about how the consequences of sanctions shape whether or not citizens favor them. Building on insights from prior studies on the use and consequences of sanctions, we develop theoretical expectations regarding the aspects of sanctions that citizens might favor or disfavor. We use these to design and conduct a survey experiment to explore degrees of support for proposed sanctions. We find that on average, citizens support proposed sanctions that they expect will have a long-run impact on the behavior of the targeted state.

  • Heinrich T, Kobayashi Y, Bryant KA, ‘Public Opinion and Foreign Aid Cuts in Economic Crises’, World Development, 77 (2016), 66-79
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2015.08.005, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/126202/

    Economic crises generally lead to reductions in foreign aid. However, the widely held view that budgetary constraints caused by economic crises reduce aid is inaccurate because donor government outlays actually tend to increase. We develop an argument that aid cuts occur because voters place a lower priority on aid during economic downturns and politicians respond by cutting aid. Using data from Eurobarometer, we demonstrate that economic downturns lead to reduced public support for helping the poor abroad. These findings are robust across a large number of alternative specifications. Our findings have implications for how advocates may prevent aid reductions during economic recessions.

  • Morgan TC, Bapat N, Kobayashi Y, ‘Threat and imposition of economic sanctions 1945–2005: Updating the TIES dataset’, Conflict Management and Peace Science, 31.5 (2014), 541-558
    DOI: 10.1177/0738894213520379, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/126201/

    Recent research on economic sanctions has produced significant advances in our theoretical and empirical understanding of the causes and effects of these phenomena. Our theoretical understanding, which has been guided by empirical findings, has reached the point where existing datasets are no longer adequate to test important hypotheses. This article presents a recently updated version of the Threat and Imposition of Economic Sanctions dataset. This version of the data extends the temporal domain, corrects errors, updates cases that were ongoing as of the last release, and includes a few additional variables. We describe the dataset, paying special attention to the key differences in the new version, and we present descriptive statistics for some of the key variables, highlighting differences across versions. Since the major change in the dataset was to more than double the time period covered, we also present some simple statistics showing trends in sanctions use over time.

  • Bapat NA, Heinrich T, Kobayashi Y, Morgan TC, ‘Determinants of Sanctions Effectiveness: Sensitivity Analysis Using New Data’, International Interactions, 39.1 (2013), 79-98
    DOI: 10.1080/03050629.2013.751298


  • Kobayashi Y, ‘Economic Sanction as Foreign Policy’, in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics, ed. by Thies C (Oxford University Press, 2017)
    DOI: 10.1093/acrefore/9780190228637.013.477, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/126198/

    Economic sanctions are an attempt by states to coerce a change in the policy of another state by restricting their economic relationship with the latter. Between, roughly, the 1960s–1980s, the question dominating the study of sanctions was whether they are an effective tool of foreign policy. Since the 1990s, however, with the introduction of large-N datasets, scholars have turned to more systematic examinations of previously little explored questions, such as when and how sanctions work, when and why states employ sanctions, and why some sanctions last longer than others. Two dominant perspectives, one based on strategic logic and the other on domestic politics, have emerged, providing starkly different answers to these questions. A growing body of evidence lends support to both strategic and domestic politics perspectives, but also points to areas in which they fall short. To complement these shortcomings, a new direction for research is to unite these perspectives into a single theoretical framework.

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