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Electoral Incentives, Term Limits and the Sustainability of Peace

Author

Listed:
  • Paola Conconi
  • Nicolas Sahuguet
  • Maurizio Zanardi

Abstract

One of the few stylized facts in international relations is that democracies, unlike autocracies, almost never fight each other. Recent empirical findings show that binding term limits invalidate this result: democratic dyads in which at least one country imposes term limits on the executive are as conflict prone as autocratic and mixed dyads. Moreover, in democracies with two-term limits conflicts are more likely during the executive's second term. To rationalize these findings, we model international relations as a repeated prisoners’ dilemma. We show that the fear of losing office makes democratic leaders less willing to start costly conflicts. Crucially, this discipline effect can only be at work if incumbent leaders can run for re-election. Term limits thus make it harder to sustain peaceful relations.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Paola Conconi & Nicolas Sahuguet & Maurizio Zanardi, 2015. "Electoral Incentives, Term Limits and the Sustainability of Peace," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2015-33, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:eca:wpaper:2013/217949
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    interstate conflicts; democratic peace; elections; term limits;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • F00 - International Economics - - General - - - General

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