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War and Democracy

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  • Gregory D. Hess
  • Athanasios Orphanides

Abstract

We present a general equilibrium model of conflict to investigate whether the prevalence of democracy is sufficient to foster the perpetual peace hypothesized by Immanuel Kant and whether the world would necessarily become more peaceful as more countries adopt democratic institutions. Our exploration suggests that neither hypothesis is true. The desire of incumbent leaders with unfavorable economic performance to hold on to power generates an incentive to initiate conflict and salvage their positionwith some probability. An equilibrium with positive war frequency is sustained even if all nations were to adopt representative democratic institutions and even in the absence of an appropriative motive for war.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 109 (2001)
Issue (Month): 4 (August)
Pages: 776-810

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:109:y:2001:i:4:p:776-810

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  1. Hess, Gregory D & Orphanides, Athanasios, 1995. "War Politics: An Economic, Rational-Voter Framework," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 828-46, September.
  2. Kenneth Rogoff, 1987. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," NBER Working Papers 2428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Kenneth Rogoff & Anne Sibert, 1986. "Elections and Macroeconomic Policy Cycles," NBER Working Papers 1838, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Torsten Persson & Gerard Roland & Guido Tabellini, . "Separation of Powers and Political Accountability," Working Papers 100, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  5. Garfinkel, Michelle R, 1994. "Domestic Politics and International Conflict," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1294-1309, December.
  6. Grossman, Herschel I, 1991. "A General Equilibrium Model of Insurrections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 912-21, September.
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  1. Are democracies good for peace?
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2008-11-17 10:06:00
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