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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 autoc- racies, very rarely fight each other. We examine the sustainability of international peace between democracies and autocracies, where the crucial difference between these two po- litical 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 con- flicts. 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Paola Conconi & Nicolas Sahuguet & Maurizio Zanardi, 2008. "Democratic Peace and Electoral Accountability," Working Papers ECARES 2008-015, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:eca:wpaper:2013/230570
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    1. Limite dei mandati. Costi e benefici
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    10. 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.
    11. 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.
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    14. Conconi, Paola & Sahuguet, Nicolas, 2009. "Policymakers' horizon and the sustainability of international cooperation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(3-4), pages 549-558, April.
    15. Matthew O. Jackson & Massimo Morelli, 2011. "The Reasons for Wars: An Updated Survey," Chapters, in: Christopher J. Coyne & Rachel L. Mathers (ed.), The Handbook on the Political Economy of War, chapter 3, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    16. Rota, Mauro, 2011. "Military Burden and the Democracy Puzzle," MPRA Paper 35254, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Gustavo Javier Canavire-Bacarreza & Christopher Cotton & Michael Jetter & Alejandra Montoya-Agudelo, 2019. "Polarized education levels and civil unrest," Working Paper 1417, Economics Department, Queen's University.
    18. Michael Jetter & Bei Li, 2017. "The Political Economy of Opposition Groups: Peace, Terrorism, or Civil Conflict," CESifo Working Paper Series 6747, CESifo.
    19. Gustavo Javier Canavire-Bacarreza & Michael Jetter & Alejandra Montoya-Agudelo, 2016. "Polarized Education Levels and Civil War," CESifo Working Paper Series 6267, CESifo.
    20. Michelle R. Garfinkel, 2010. "Political Institutions and War Initiation: The Democratic Peace Hypothesis Revisited," Working Papers 101107, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
    21. Laurent Bouton & Paola Conconi & Francisco Pino & Maurizio Zanardi, 2021. "The Tyranny of the Single-Minded: Guns, Environment, and Abortion," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 103(1), pages 48-59, March.
    22. Hasan, Md Didarul & Lahiri, Sajal, 2015. "A two-period model of natural resources and inter-country conflicts: Effects of trade sanctions," International Journal of Development and Conflict, Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, vol. 5(2), pages 76-100.
    23. Mark Harrison & Nikolaus Wolf, 2014. "The frequency of wars: reply to Gleditsch and Pickering," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 67(1), pages 231-239, February.
    24. Conconi, Paola & DeRemer, David R. & Kirchsteiger, Georg & Trimarchi, Lorenzo & Zanardi, Maurizio, 2017. "Suspiciously timed trade disputes," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 57-76.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Democratic Peace; Elections; Term Limits;
    All these keywords.

    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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