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Democratic Peace and Electoral Accountability¤

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  • Conconi, Paola
  • Sahuguet, Nicolas
  • Zanardi, Maurizio

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 C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6908.

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Date of creation: Jul 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6908

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Keywords: Democratic Peace; Elections; Term Limits;

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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. Francesco Caselli & Massimo Morelli & Dominic Rohner, 2013. "The Geography of Inter-State Resource Wars," NBER Working Papers 18978, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Vicard, Vincent, 2012. "Trade, conflict, and political integration: Explaining the heterogeneity of regional trade agreements," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 54-71.
  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. Paola Conconi & Nicolas Sahuguet, 2009. "Policymakers' Horizon and the Sustainability of International Cooperation," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/98547, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  5. Rota, Mauro, 2011. "Military Burden and the Democracy Puzzle," MPRA Paper 35254, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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