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The diplomatic burden of pandemics: lessons from malaria

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 July 2021

Benjamin E. Bagozzi*
Department of Political Science and International Relations, University of Delaware, 405 Smith Hall, 18 Amstel Ave, Newark, DE 19716, USA
Ore Koren
Department of Political Science, Indiana University, Woodburn Hall 362, 1100 E 7th St, Bloomington, IN 47406, USA
*Corresponding author. Email:


This note seeks to understand the extent of the disruptions to international relations caused by pandemics, focusing on one globally-endemic disease: malaria. We posit that longstanding diseases such as malaria have the potential to undermine the political ties of nation states, as well as the many benefits of these connections. Our argument is tested empirically using both directed-dyadic and monadic data, while incorporating methods that account for endogeneity and other relevant concerns. We find that the geographic malaria rates of a country not only serve to historically discourage foreign governments from establishing diplomatic outposts on a country's soil, but also lead to an aggregate decrease in the total diplomatic missions that a country receives. We then discuss the current implications of these findings.

Research Note
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the European Political Science Association

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