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Domestic Political Survival and International Conflict: Is Democracy Good for Peace?

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  • Sandeep Baliga

    ()
    (Northwestern)

  • David Lucca

    ()
    (Federal Reserve Board)

  • Tomas Sjostrom

    ()
    (Rutgers)

Abstract

We build a game-theoretic model where aggression can be triggered by domestic political concerns as well as the fear of being attacked. In the model, leaders of full and limited democracies risk losing power if they do not stand up to threats from abroad. In addition, the leader of a fully democratic country loses the support of the median voter if he attacks a non-hostile country. The result is a non-monotonic relationship between democracy and peace. Using the Polity IV dataset, we classify countries as full democracies, limited democracies, and dictatorships. For the period 1816-200, Correlates of War data suggest that limited democracies are more aggressive than other regime types, including dictatorships, and not only during periods when the political regime is changing. In particular, a dyad of limited democracies is more likely to be involved in a militarized dispute than any other dyad (including "mixed" dyads, where the two countries have different regime types). Thus, while full democratization might advance the cause of peace, limited democratization might advance the cause of war. We also find that as the environment becomes more hostile, fully democratic countries become more aggressive faster than other regime types.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Rutgers University, Department of Economics in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 200907.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: 28 Aug 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rut:rutres:200907

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Keywords: democracy; peace;

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  1. Sandeep Baliga & Tomas Sj–str–m, 2004. "Arms Races and Negotiations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(2), pages 351-369, 04.
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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. Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2009. "Hit or Miss? The Effect of Assassinations on Institutions and War," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 55-87, July.
  3. Unal Tongur & Sara Hsu & Adem Yavuz Elveren, 2013. "Military Expenditures and Political Regimes: An Analysis Using Global Data, 1963-2001," ERC Working Papers 1307, ERC - Economic Research Center, Middle East Technical University, revised Jul 2013.
  4. Libman, Alexander Mikhailovich, 2009. "Эндогенные Границы И Распределение Власти В Федерациях И Международных Сообществах
    [ENDOGENOUS BOUNDARIES AND DISTRIBUTION O
    ," MPRA Paper 16473, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay & Mandar Oak, 2010. "Conflict and Leadership: Why is There a Hawkish Drift in Politics?," Discussion Papers 10-04, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
  6. Brendan O’Flaherty & Rajiv Sethi, 2010. "Peaceable Kingdoms and War Zones: Preemption, Ballistics and Murder in Newark," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of Crime: Lessons for and from Latin America, pages 305-353 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Rota, Mauro, 2011. "Military Burden and the Democracy Puzzle," MPRA Paper 35254, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Michelle R. Garfinkel, 2010. "Political Institutions and War Initiation: The Democratic Peace Hypothesis Revisited," Working Papers 101107, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
  9. O'Flaherty, Brendan & Sethi, Rajiv, 2010. "Homicide in black and white," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 215-230, November.

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