image description



University of Heidelberg

Bucerius Ph.D. Fellow

A Question of Individual Perception? The Escalation of Interstate Dispute Between Authoritarian and Democratic Regimes


How do political leaders influence the fate of Europe and its neighbours? Current crises reveal the importance of political decision-makers for international conflict dynamics. But how does the perception of individual decision-makers affect the non-violent escalation of conflicts between autocratic and democratic states? Prospect theory offers an approach to investigating the effects of individual perceptions considering the situational contexts as well as the dynamics between states. This study places existing research on conflicts on a more stable theoretical foundation. Furthermore, it addresses gaps in earlier research by focusing on non-violent conflict phases and autocratic-democratic dyads.

Sebastian Cujai studied Political Science, History and Sociology in Heidelberg, Aachen and Nottingham. Since 2018, he is a doctoral candidate at the Institute of Political Science (IPW) Heidelberg. Sebastian has worked at the IPW Heidelberg as an associate lecturer and contract teacher in International Relations and in Didactics. His research interests include mechanism of conflict escalation, scenario analysis, and computational social science.


back to list FELLOWS 2018