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Democratic Peace and Electoral Accountability

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  • Paola Conconi
  • Nicolas Sahuguet
  • Maurizio Zanardi

Abstract

One of the few stylized facts in international relations is that democracies, unlike autocracies, very rarely fight each other. We examine the sustainability of international peace between democracies and autocracies, where the crucial difference between these two political regimes is whether or not policymakers are subject to periodic elections. We show that the fear of losing office can deter democratic leaders from engaging in military conflicts. Crucially, this discipline effect can only be at work if incumbent leaders can be re-elected, implying that democracies in which the executives are subject to term limits should be more conflict prone. To assess the validity of our predictions, we construct a large dataset on countries with executive term limits. Our analysis of inter-state conflicts for the 1816-2001 period suggests that electoral incentives are indeed behind the democratic peace phenomenon: while democratic dyads are in general less likely to be involved in conflicts than any other dyads, this result does not hold for democracies in which the executive faces binding term limits; moreover, the dispute patterns of democracies with term limits depend on whether the executive is in the last or penultimate mandate.

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Paper provided by www.najecon.org in its series NajEcon Working Paper Reviews with number 814577000000000388.

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Date of creation: 21 Nov 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cla:najeco:814577000000000388

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  7. Paola Conconi & Carlo Perroni, 2009. "Do Credible Domestic Institutions Promote Credible International Agreements?," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/98549, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  8. Levy, Gilat & Razin, Ronny, 2003. "It Takes Two: An Explanation of the Democratic Peace," CEPR Discussion Papers 3947, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Jackson, Matthew O. & Morelli, Massimo, . "Political bias and war," Working Papers 1247, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  10. Luca Anderlini & Dino Gerardi & Roger Lagunoff, 2007. "Social Memory and Evidence from the Past," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1601, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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  1. Limite dei mandati. Costi e benefici
    by iMille in iMille on 2011-11-14 11:33:25
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Cited by:
  1. Vincent Vicard, 2008. "Trade, conflicts and political integration : explaining the heterogeneity of regional trade agreements," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne bla08022, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
  2. Francesco Caselli & Massimo Morelli & Dominic Rohner, 2013. "The Geography of Inter-State Resource Wars," NBER Working Papers 18978, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Michelle R. Garfinkel, 2010. "Political Institutions and War Initiation: The Democratic Peace Hypothesis Revisited," Working Papers 101107, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
  4. Rota, Mauro, 2011. "Military Burden and the Democracy Puzzle," MPRA Paper 35254, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Paola Conconi & Nicolas Sahuguet, 2009. "Policymakers' Horizon and the Sustainability of International Cooperation," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/98547, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.

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