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The Democratic Peace Unraveled: It’s the Economy


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  • Michael Mousseau

    (Koç University)

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    Recent research indicates that the democratic peace—the observation that democratic nations rarely fight each other—is spurious: that advanced capitalism accounts for both democracy and the democratic peace (Mousseau 2009). This is not a trivial prospect: if economic conditions explain the democratic peace, then a great deal of research on governing institutions and foreign policy is probably obsolete. This study addresses all the recent defenses of the democratic peace and reports new results using a new measure that directly gauges the causal mechanism of contract flows dependent on third-party enforcement. Analyses of most nations from 1961 to 2001 show contract-intensive "impersonal" economy to be the second most powerful variable in international conflict—following only contiguity—and, once considered, there is no evidence of causation from democracy to peace. It is impersonal economy, not democracy or unfettered markets, which appears to explain the democratic peace..

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum in its series Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers with number 1207.

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    Length: 27 pages
    Date of creation: Feb 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:koc:wpaper:1207

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