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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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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series ULB Institutional Repository with number 2013/145492.

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Date of creation: 2014
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Publication status: Forthcoming
Handle: RePEc:ulb:ulbeco:2013/145492

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Keywords: Interstate Conflicts; Elections; Term Limits;

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  1. Farrell, Joseph & Maskin, Eric, 1987. "Renegotiation in Repeated Games," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley qt9wv3h5jb, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
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  8. Conconi, Paola & Perroni, Carlo, 2006. "Do Credible Domestic Institutions Promote Credible International Agreements?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5762, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  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. 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.
  2. Rota, Mauro, 2011. "Military Burden and the Democracy Puzzle," MPRA Paper 35254, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Francesco Caselli, 2012. "The Geography of Inter-State Resource Wars," 2012 Meeting Papers, Society for Economic Dynamics 1174, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  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. Francesco Caselli & Massimo Morelli & Dominic Rohner, 2013. "The geography of inter-state resource wars," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51548, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  6. Michelle R. Garfinkel, 2010. "Political Institutions and War Initiation: The Democratic Peace Hypothesis Revisited," Working Papers 101107, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.

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