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The Democratic Peace Unraveled: It’s the Economy


  • Michael Mousseau

    () (Koç University)


Recent research indicates that the democratic peace—the observation that democratic nations rarely fight each other—is spurious: that advanced capitalism accounts for both democracy and the democratic peace (Mousseau 2009). This is not a trivial prospect: if economic conditions explain the democratic peace, then a great deal of research on governing institutions and foreign policy is probably obsolete. This study addresses all the recent defenses of the democratic peace and reports new results using a new measure that directly gauges the causal mechanism of contract flows dependent on third-party enforcement. Analyses of most nations from 1961 to 2001 show contract-intensive "impersonal" economy to be the second most powerful variable in international conflict—following only contiguity—and, once considered, there is no evidence of causation from democracy to peace. It is impersonal economy, not democracy or unfettered markets, which appears to explain the democratic peace..

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Mousseau, 2012. "The Democratic Peace Unraveled: It’s the Economy," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1207, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
  • Handle: RePEc:koc:wpaper:1207

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    1. D. Scott Bennett & Allan C. Stam, 2000. "Eugene : A conceptual manual," International Interactions, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(2), pages 179-204, March.
    2. Gerald Schneider & Nils Petter Gleditsch, 2010. "The Capitalist Peace: The Origins and Prospects of a Liberal Idea," International Interactions, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(2), pages 107-114, May.
    3. Kristian Skrede Gleditsch, 2002. "Expanded Trade and GDP Data," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 46(5), pages 712-724, October.
    4. Herbert A. Simon, 1955. "A Behavioral Model of Rational Choice," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 99-118.
    5. Faten Ghosn & Glenn Palmer & Stuart A. Bremer, 2004. "The MID3 Data Set, 1993—2001: Procedures, Coding Rules, and Description," Conflict Management and Peace Science, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 21(2), pages 133-154, April.
    6. Bruce Russett, 2010. "Capitalism or Democracy? Not So Fast," International Interactions, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(2), pages 198-205, May.
    7. Michael Mousseau & Demet Yalcin Mousseau, 2008. "The Contracting Roots of Human Rights," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 45(3), pages 327-344, May.
    8. Michael Mousseau, 2000. "Market Prosperity, Democratic Consolidation, and Democratic Peace," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 44(4), pages 472-507, August.
    9. repec:cup:apsrev:v:88:y:1994:i:04:p:903-910_09 is not listed on IDEAS
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