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Peaceful transitions and democracy


  • ReÅŸat Bayer

    (Department of International Relations, Koç University,


While there has been extensive interest in the role of democracy in reducing interstate violence, the role of democracy in reaching higher levels of peace has received much less attention. Since many countries have less than amicable relations, it is necessary to consider how the quality of peace can be improved. The quality of peace becomes particularly relevant when assessing relations of countries with a bellicose past. In order to capture improvement in relations, this article relies upon a framework that captures the various levels of peace that countries experience. The study maintains that democracy contributes to former belligerents reaching the highest levels of peace but that it is not helpful at the lower levels especially if only one side is a democracy. The article tests arguments on a dataset that captures the transitions from one level of peace to another for all former belligerents since 1816 and relies upon event history analysis. The results for peace are not the opposite of what is found for war. The findings demonstrate that democracy plays a substantial role in peaceful transitions at all levels. However, while joint democracy is important for reaching the highest levels of peace, democracy can hamper the progress of relations at the lowest levels of peace.

Suggested Citation

  • ReÅŸat Bayer, 2010. "Peaceful transitions and democracy," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 47(5), pages 535-546, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:joupea:v:47:y:2010:i:5:p:535-546

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