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Borders, Rivalry, Democracy, and Conflict in the European Region, 1816-1994


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  • Karen Rasler

    (Indiana University)

  • William R. Thompson

    (Indiana University)

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    Should peace be attributed mainly to democracy or to some intervening variable that influences both democracy and conflict? A second, perhaps related question is whether or to what extent democratization is driven by external drivers of threat. If regime type helps explain external conflict, does external conflict also help explain regime type? By examining the relationships among strategic rivalry, unstable boundaries, democracy, and interstate conflict in a regional context, we find that rivalry and unstable boundaries are alternative manifestations of external threat. Both have significant, if not identical effects on stimulating interstate conflict. Regime type does not appear to have an independent effect on interstate conflict when we take either rivalries or unstable boundaries into consideration. At the same time, we also find that external threat indicators negatively predict changes in democratization. In short, greater threat is associated with less democratization.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Peace Science Society (International) in its journal Conflict Management & Peace Science.

    Volume (Year): 28 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 3 (July)
    Pages: 280-303

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    Handle: RePEc:sae:compsc:v:28:y:2011:i:3:p:280-303

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    Related research

    Keywords: borders; democratization; interstate conflict; rivalry; Western Europe;


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