Keren Yarhi-Milo is a Professor of Political Science and International and Public Affairs and Associate Director of the Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University. Her research and teaching focus on international relations and foreign policy, with a particular specialization in international security, including foreign policy decision-making, interstate communication and crisis bargaining, intelligence, and US foreign policy in the Middle East.
Professor Yarhi-Milo’s first book (Princeton University Press, 2014) titled, “Knowing The Adversary: Leaders, Intelligence Organizations, and Assessments of Intentions in International Relations,” received the 2016 Furnnis Award for best book in the field of international security. Also, it is Co-Winner of the 2016 DPLST Book Prize, Diplomatic Studies Section of the International Studies Association. This book explores how and why civilian leaders and intelligence organizations select and interpret an adversary’s signals of intentions differently. Her new book, titled "Who Fights for Reputation? The Psychology of Leaders in International Conflict" came out with Princeton University Press (2018) and received the 2019 Best Book Award on Foreign Policy from the American Political Science Association. Yarhi-Milo’s articles have been published or are forthcoming in International Studies Quarterly, International Organization, International Security, British Journal of Political Science, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Foreign Affairs, and Security Studies.
Before joining the faculty at Columbia University, she was an Associate Professor (with tenure) of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University’s Politics Department and the Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs. She was previously a post-doc fellow at the Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and a pre-doc fellow at the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard University. Yarhi-Milo has worked at the Mission of Israel to the United Nations, as well as served in the Israeli Defense Forces, Intelligence Branch. Her dissertation received the Kenneth Waltz Awards for the best dissertation in the field of International Security and Arms Control in 2010. She also has received awards for the study of Political Science from the Smith Richardson Foundation, the Arthur Ross Foundation, and the Abram Morris Foundation.
She holds a Ph.D. and a Master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A., summa cum laude, in Political Science from Columbia University.
Who Fights for Reputation? The Psychology of Leaders in International Conflict. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2018. Print.
Yarhi-Milo, Keren. Knowing The Adversary: Leaders, Intelligence Organizations, and Assessments of Intentions in International Relations. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014. Print.
“Public Opinion and Decisions about Military Force in Democracies, (with Mike Tomz and Jesssica Weeks).” International Organization (Forthcoming). Print.
“How Do Observers Assess Resolve? (with Josh Kertzer and Jonathan Renshon).” British Journal of Political Science (Forthcoming). Print. how_do_observers.pdf
“Tying Hands, Sinking Costs, and Leader Attributes (with Josh Kertzer and Jonathan Renshon).” Journal of Conflict Resolution 62.10 (2018): , 62, 10, 2150-2179. Print. Abstract jcr_piece.pdf
“The Logic of "Offstage" Signaling: Domestic Politics, Regime Type, and Major Power-Protégé Relations (with Roseanne McManus).” International Organization (2017): 1-33. Print. the_logic_of_offstage.pdf
“Covert Communication: The Intelligibility and Credibility of Signaling in Secret (with Austin Carson).” Security Studies 26.1 (2017): 26:1, 124-156. Print. Abstract covert_communication_ss_2017.pdf
“To Arm or to Ally? The Patron's Dilemma and the Strategic Logic of Arms Transfers and Alliances (with Alex Lanoszka and Zack Cooper).” International Security 41.2 (2016): 41:2, 90-139. Print. to_arm_or_to_ally.pdf
“The Psychological Logic of Peace Summits: How Empathy Shapes Outcomes of Diplomatic Negotiations (with Marcus Holmes)." International Studies Quarterly (2016): 1-16. Print. the_psychological_logic_of_peace_summits.pdf
“Revisiting Reputation: How do past actions matter in International Politics (with Alex Weisiger).” International Organization 69.2 (2015): 69:2, 473-495. Print. revisiting_reputation.pdf
“Tying Hands behind Closed Doors: The Logic and Practice of Secret Reassurance.” Security Studies 22.3 (2013): 22:3, 405-435. Print. Tying Hands Behind Closed Doors.pdf
“In the Eye of the Beholder: How Leaders and Intelligence Organizations Assess Intentions.” International Security 38.1 (2013): 38:1, 7-51. Print.Abstract IntheEyeoftheBeholder-KYM.pdf
“The Personal Touch: Leaders' Impressions, Costly Signaling, and Assessments of Sincerity in International Affairs (with Todd Hall).” International Studies Quarterly 56.3 (2012): 56:3, 560-573. Print. ISQ-KerenYarhiMilo&ToddHall-Sept2012.pdf
"Credibility and Reputation Revisited," A review article on Frank Harvey and John Mitton's "Fighting for Credibility: U.S. Reputation and International Politics." H-Diplo Roundtable Review. Forthcoming. Print.
"Revisiting Intelligence Success and Failure." A review article on Iri Bar Joseph and Rose McDermott's "Intelligence Success and Failure." H-Diplo Roundtable Review Forthcoming. Print.
"The H-ISSF roundtable on Martin Holmes' Face-to-Face Diplomacy: Social Neuroscience and International Relations." H-ISSF Roundtable Review 2019. Print.
“Book Review, Raymond Garthoff, "Soviet Leaders and Intelligence (Georgetown University Press, 2015).” Journal of Politics 2016. Print.
"Critical Review Essay, "Symposium on Process Tracing in Security Studies."ISSF Forum/H-Diplo 2016. Print.
"Response Essay, Roundtable on "Knowing the Adversary." H-Diplo 2015. Print.
"Intelligence-Policy Relations in Historical Perspective," A review article on Joshua Rovner's "Fixing the Facts." H-Diplo Roundtable Review 2012. Print.
"Intent from an International Politics Perspective: Decision-Makers, Intelligence Communities, and Assessment of the Adversary's Intentions" in "From the Mind to the Feet: Assessing the Perception-to-Intent-to-Action Dynamic." Multi-Agency/Multi-Disciplinary White Papers in Support of Counter-Terrorism and Counter-WMD 2009. Print.
“How can Donald Trump reassure nervous U.S. allies? By giving them weapons (with Alexander Lanoszka and Zack Cooper).” The Washington Post, "Monkey Cage" 2017. Web. Publisher's Version.
“Trump is trying to send North Korea a message. He has a long way to go (with Danielle Lupton and Roseanne McManus.” The Washington Post, "Monkey Cage" 2017. Web. Publisher's Version
“What American Credibility Myth? How and Why Reputation Matters (with Alex Weisger).” War on the Rocks 2016. Web. Publisher's Version
Working Papers/Under Review
“Democratic Leaders, Crises and War: Evidence from Elites and Public Survey Experiments in the US and Israel," with Josh Kertzer and Jonathan Renshon. (Under Review)
“Can You Keep a Secret? Secret Diplomacy and Reputation in World Politics,” with George Yin. (Under Review) PDF
"The Reputational Effect of Offstage Signals," with Roseanne McManus
"Are Red Lines Red Herrings? with Joshua Kertzer and Jonathan Renshon
June 11, 2018
So Trump's meeting Kim Jong Un after all. Here's why face-to-face diplomacy matters.
The Washington Post. Marcus Holmes and Keren Yarhi-Milo
After Credibility: American Foreign Policy in the Trump Era
Foreign Affairs. Keren Yarhi-Milo
April 26, 2017
Trump is trying to send North Korea a message. He's got a long way to go.
The Washington Post, " Monkey Cage." Danielle Lupton, Roseanne McManus, and Keren Yarhi-Milo
January 13, 2017
How can Donald Trump reassure nervous U.S. allies? By giving them weapons.
The Washington Post. Keren Yarhi-Milo, Alexander Lanoszka, and Zack Cooper
October 4, 2016
What American Credibility Myth? How and Why Reputation Matters
War on the Rocks. Alex Weisiger and Keren Yarhi-Milo