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Election Cycles and War

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  • Kurt Taylor Gaubatz

    (Stanford University)

Abstract

Insight into the effect of domestic factors on the international conflict behavior of democratic states can be garnered from treating electoral cycles as cycles in the relative power of state and society. This article shows that there is a discernible relationship between election cycles and the behavior of democratic states in international conflicts. In the past 200 years, democratic states have tended to get into relatively more wars early in the election cycle and fewer wars late in the cycle. Interestingly, this result holds regardless of whether it was a democracy or a nondemocracy which initiated the war. The author argues, however, that this pattern at the international level is insufficient for drawing firm conclusions about the preferences of democratic states and societies at the domestic level. Finally, the author suggests that although election dynamics may mitigate against war entry in the short run, it is plausible that they have made war more likely or more severe in the long run.

Suggested Citation

  • Kurt Taylor Gaubatz, 1991. "Election Cycles and War," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 35(2), pages 212-244, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:jocore:v:35:y:1991:i:2:p:212-244
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    Cited by:

    1. Francesco Caselli & Massimo Morelli & Dominic Rohner, 2015. "The Geography of Interstate Resource Wars," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 130(1), pages 267-315.
    2. Paola Conconi & Nicolas Sahuguet & Maurizio Zanardi, 2014. "Democratic Peace And Electoral Accountability," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 997-1028, August.
    3. Eric Dubois, 2016. "Political business cycles 40 years after Nordhaus," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 166(1), pages 235-259, January.
    4. Eric Dubois, 2016. "Political Business Cycles 40 Years after Nordhaus," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-01291401, HAL.
    5. Conconi, Paola & Sahuguet, Nicolas & Zanardi, Maurizio, 2018. "Electoral incentives, term limits, and the sustainability of peace," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 15-26.
    6. repec:hal:journl:hal-01291401 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Francesco Caselli, 2012. "The Geography of Inter-State Resource Wars," 2012 Meeting Papers 1174, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Jari Eloranta, 2015. "Pro Bono Publico? Demand for military spending between the World Wars," Working Papers 15016, Economic History Society.

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