Keren Yarhi-Milo

Keren Yarhi-Milo

Research Interest

Keren Yarhi-Milo is the Arnold A. Saltzman Professor of War and Peace Studies in the Political Science Department and the School of International and Public Affairs. She is also the 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, psychology, intelligence, and U.S. 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. Her second book, titled “Who Fights for Reputation? The Psychology of Leaders in International Conflict,” (Princeton University Press, 2018) also received two awards: the 2019 Best Book Award on Foreign Policy from the American Political Science Association, and the 2020 Biennial Best Book on Foreign Policy from the International Studies Association.

Yarhi-Milo’s articles have been published in various journals such as International Studies Quarterly, International Organization, International Security, British Journal of Political Science, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Foreign Affairs, World Politics, and Security Studies.

Before joining the faculty at Columbia University, she was Associate Professor (with tenure) of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University’s Department of Politics and the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs. She was previously a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and a pre-doctoral fellow at the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard University. Yarhi-Milo has worked at the Mission of Israel to the United Nations and has served in the Israeli Defense Forces, Intelligence Branch. Her dissertation received the Kenneth Waltz Dissertation Prize 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 PhD and a Master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and a BA, 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

Working Papers/Under Review

"Redefining the Debate over Credibility and Reputation: Promises and Limits of New Scholarship," with Robert Jervis and Don Casler (Under Review)

"A Not-So-Open Book: Secret Information and Military Cooperation Between Allies," with Mindy Haas (Under Review)

"Democratic Peace and Covert Military Force," with Allison Carnegie and Josh Kertzer (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)

"Are Red Lines Red Herrings? with Joshua Kertzer and Jonathan Renshon (Under Review)

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

January/February 2018
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 


Courses Taught