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Domestic Political Survival and International Conflict: Is Democracy Good for Peace?

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  • Sandeep Baliga
  • David O. Lucca
  • Tomas Sjöström

Abstract

We build a game-theoretic model where aggression can be triggered by domestic political concerns as well as the fear of being attacked. In the model, leaders of full and limited democracies risk losing power if they do not stand up to threats from abroad. In addition, the leader of a fully democratic country loses the support of the median voter if he attacks a non-hostile country. The result is a non-monotonic relationship between democracy and peace. Using Polity data, we classify countries as full democracies, limited democracies, and dictatorships. For the period 1816--2000, Correlates of War data suggest that limited democracies are more aggressive than other regime types, including dictatorships, and not only during periods when the political regime is changing. In particular, a dyad of limited democracies is more likely to be involved in a militarized dispute than any other dyad (including "mixed" dyads, where the two countries have different regime types). Thus, while full democratization might advance the cause of peace, limited democratization might advance the cause of war. We also find that as the environment becomes more hostile, fully democratic countries become more aggressive faster than other regime types. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Review of Economic Studies.

Volume (Year): 78 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 458-486

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Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:78:y:2011:i:2:p:458-486

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  2. Chassang, Sylvain & Miquel, Gerard Padró i, 2009. "Economic Shocks and Civil War," International Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 4(3), pages 211-228, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Michelle R. Garfinkel, 2010. "Political Institutions and War Initiation: The Democratic Peace Hypothesis Revisited," Working Papers 101107, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
  2. Brendan O’Flaherty & Rajiv Sethi, 2010. "Peaceable Kingdoms and War Zones: Preemption, Ballistics and Murder in Newark," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of Crime: Lessons for and from Latin America, pages 305-353 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Francesco Caselli, 2012. "The Geography of Inter-State Resource Wars," 2012 Meeting Papers 1174, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay & Mandar Oak, 2010. "Conflict and Leadership: Why is There a Hawkish Drift in Politics?," Discussion Papers 10-04, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
  5. Libman, Alexander Mikhailovich, 2009. "Эндогенные Границы И Распределение Власти В Федерациях И Международных Сообществах
    [ENDOGENOUS BOUNDARIES AND DISTRIBUTION O
    ," MPRA Paper 16473, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Jones, Benjamin & Olken, Benjamin, 2007. "Hit or Miss? The Effect of Assassinations on Institutions and War," CEPR Discussion Papers 6298, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Francesco Caselli & Massimo Morelli & Dominic Rohner, 2013. "The geography of inter-state resource wars," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51548, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  8. Unal Tongur & Sara Hsu & Adem Yavuz Elveren, 2013. "Military Expenditures and Political Regimes: An Analysis Using Global Data, 1963-2001," ERC Working Papers 1307, ERC - Economic Research Center, Middle East Technical University, revised Jul 2013.
  9. Rota, Mauro, 2011. "Military Burden and the Democracy Puzzle," MPRA Paper 35254, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. O'Flaherty, Brendan & Sethi, Rajiv, 2010. "Homicide in black and white," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 215-230, November.

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