Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-59b7f5684b-hd9dq Total loading time: 0.425 Render date: 2022-09-27T07:29:51.751Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "displayNetworkTab": true, "displayNetworkMapGraph": false, "useSa": true } hasContentIssue true

Powerful Pacifists: Democratic States and War

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 September 2013

David A. Lake
Affiliation:
University of California, Los Angeles

Abstract

Democracies are less likely to fight wars with each other. They are also more likely to prevail in wars with autocratic states. I offer an explanation of this syndrome of powerful pacifism drawn from the microeconomic theory of the state. State rent seeking creates an imperialist bias in a country's foreign policy. This bias is smallest in democracies, where the costs to society of controlling the state are relatively low, and greatest in autocracies, where the costs are higher. As a result of this bias, autocracies will be more expansionist and, in turn, war-prone. In their relations with each other, where the absence of this imperialist bias is manifest, the relative pacifism of democracies appears. In addition, democracies, constrained by their societies from earning rents, will devote greater absolute resources to security, enjoy greater societal support for their policies, and tend to form overwhelming countercoalitions against expansionist autocracies. It follows that democracies will be more likely to win wars.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © American Political Science Association 1992

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Ames, Edward, and Rapp, Richard T.. 1977. “The Birth and Death of Taxes: A Hypothesis.” Journal of Economic History 37:161178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Auster, Richard D., and Silver, Morris. 1979. The State As Firm: Economic Forces in Political Development. Boston: Martinus Nijhoff.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bates, Robert H., and Lien, Da-hsiang Donald. 1985. “A Note on Taxation, Development, and Representative Government.” Politics and Society 14:5370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Buchanan, James M. 1968. The Demand and Supply of Public Goods. Chicago: Rand McNally.Google Scholar
Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce. 1981. The War Trap. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce, and Lalman, David. 1992. War and Reason: A Confrontation between Domestic and International Imperatives. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Chan, Steve. 1984. “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall …: Are the Freer Countries More Pacific?Journal of Conflict Resolution 28:617–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Crozier, Michael J., Huntington, Samuel P., and Watanuki, Joji. 1975. The Crisis of Democracy. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
Doyle, Michael W. 1983a. “Kant, Liberal Legacies, and Foreign Affairs.” Philosophy and Public Affairs 12:205–35.Google Scholar
Doyle, Michael W. 1983b. “Kant, Liberal Legacies, and Foreign Affairs, Part 2.” Philosophy and Public Affairs 12:323–53.Google Scholar
Doyle, Michael W. 1986. “Liberalism and World Politics.” American Political Science Review 80:1151–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ekelund, Robert B., and Tollison, Robert D.. 1981. Mercantilism As a Rent-seeking Society: Economic Regulation in Historical Perspective. College Station: Texas A&M University Press.Google Scholar
Ember, Carol R., Ember, Melvin, and Russett, Bruce. 1992. “Peace between Participatory Polities: A Cross-Cultural Test of the ‘Democracies Rarely Fight Each Other’ Hypothesis.” World Politics 44:4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Emmerson, Richard M. 1983. “Charismatic Kingship: A Study of State-Formation and Authority in Baltistan.” Politics and Society 12:413–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Evans, Peter. 1979. Dependent Development: The Alliance of Multinational, State, and Local Capital in Brazil. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Fama, Eugene F. 1980. “Agency Problems and the Theory of the Firm.” Journal of Political Economy 88:288307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fama, Eugene F., and Jensen, Michael C.. 1983a. “Separation of Ownership and Control.” Journal of Law and Economics 26:301–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fama, Eugene F., and Jensen, Michael C.. 1983b. “Agency Problems and Residual Claims.” Journal of Law and Economics 26:327–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Feldman, Gerald D. 1966. Army, Industry, and Labor in Germany, 1914–1918. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Friedrich, Carl, Curtis, Michael, and Benjamin, Barbara. 1969. Totalitarianism in Perspective: Three Views. New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
Gurr, Ted Robert, ed. 1990. Polity II: Political Structures and Regime Change, 1800–1986. Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research no. 9263. Ann Arbor.Google Scholar
Hirschman, Albert O. 1970. Exit, Voice, and Loyalty: Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations, and States. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Jensen, Michael C., and Meckling, William H.. 1976. “Theory of the Firm: Managerial Behavior, Agency Cost, and Ownership Structure.” Journal of Financial Economics 3:305–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jervis, Robert. 1978. “Cooperation under the Security Dilemma.” World Politics 30:167214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lake, David A. 1990. “The State and the Production of International Security: A Microeconomic Theory of Grand Strategy.” Presented to the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, San Francisco.Google Scholar
Lake, David A. 1991. “Superpower Strategies: the State and the Production of Security.” University of California, Los Angeles. Typescript.Google Scholar
Lamborn, Alan C. 1983. “Power and the Politics of Extraction.” International Studies Quarterly 27:125–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lamborn, Alan C. 1991. The Price of Power: Risk and Foreign Policy in Britain, France, and Germany. Boston: Unwin Hyman.Google Scholar
Lane, Frederic C. 1979. Profits from Power: Readings in Protection Rent and Violence-controlling Enterprises. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
Levi, Margaret. 1983. “The Predatory Theory of Rule.” In The Microfoundations of Macrososciology, ed. Heckter, Michael. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
Levi, Margaret. 1988. Of Rule and Revenue. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
Levy, Jack S. 1989. “The Causes of War: A Review of Theories and Evidence.” In Behavior, Society, and Nuclear War, vol. 1, ed. Tetlock, Philip E., Husbands, Jo L., Jervis, Robert, Stern, Paul C., Tilly, Charles. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Lowi, Theodore J. 1967. “Making Democracy Safe for the World.” In Domestic Sources of Foreign Policy, ed. Rosenau, James N.. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
McCagg, William O. Jr., 1978. Stalin Embattled, 1943–1948. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.Google Scholar
Maoz, Zeev, and Abdolali, Nasrin. 1989. “Regime Types and International Conflict.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 33:335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Morgan, T. Clifton, and Campbell, Sally Howard. 1991. “Domestic Structure, Decisional Constraints, and War: So Why Kant Democracies Fight?Journal of Conflict Resolution 35:187211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
North, Douglas C. 1981. Structure and Change in Economic History. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
Olson, Mancur. 1982. The Rise and Decline of Nations: Economic Growth, Stagflation, and Social Rigidities. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Olson, Mancur. 1991. “Autocracy, Democracy, and Prosperity.” Presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Washington.Google Scholar
Ross, Stephen A. 1973. “The Economic Theory of Agency: The Principal's Problem.” American Economic Review 12:134–39.Google Scholar
Rummel, R. J. 1983. “Libertarianism and International Violence.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 27:2771.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Russett, Bruce. 1990. Controlling the Sword: The Democratic Governance of National Security. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Russett, Bruce, and Antholis, William. 1991. “Democracies Rarely Fight Each Other? Evidence from the Peloponnesian War.” Yale University. Typescript.Google Scholar
Singer, J. David. 1991. “Peace in the Global System: Displacement, Interregnum, or Transformation?” In The Long Postwar Peace, ed. Kegley, Charles W. Jr., New York: Harper Collins.Google Scholar
Siverson, Randolph M., and Emmons, Juliann. 1991. “Birds of a Feather: Democratic Political Systems and Alliance Choices in the Twentieth Century.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 35:285306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Small, Melvin, and Singer, J. David. 1976. “The Warproneness of Democratic Regimes, 1816–1965.” The Jerusalem Journal of International Relations 1:5769.Google Scholar
Small, Melvin, and Singer, J. David. 1982. Resort to Arms: International and Civil Wars, 1816–1980. Beverly Hills: Sage.Google Scholar
Snyder, Jack. 1991. Myths of Empire: Domestic Politics and International Ambition. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
Starr, Harvey. 1991. “Democratic Dominoes: Diffusion Approaches to the Spread of Democracy in the International System.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 35:356–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stein, Arthur A. 1978. The Nation at War. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
Tiebout, C. M. 1956. “A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures.” Journal of Political Economy 64:416–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tilly, Charles. 1985. “War Making and State Making As Organized Crime.” In Bringing the State Back In, ed. Evans, Peter B., Rueschemeyer, Dietrich, and Skocpol, Theda. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Tullock, Gordon. 1980. “Rent Seeking As a Negative Sum Game.” In Toward a Theory of the Rentseeking Society, ed. Buchanan, James, Tollison, Robert D., and Tullock, Gordon. College Station: Texas A&M University Press.Google Scholar
Walt, Stephen M. 1987. The Origins of Alliances. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
Waltz, Kenneth. 1979. Theory of International Politics. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
Weber, Max. 1978. Economy and Society. 2 vols. Ed. Roth, Guenther and Wittich, Claus. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
Weede, Erich. 1984. “Democracy and War Involvement.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 28:649–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
358
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Powerful Pacifists: Democratic States and War
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Powerful Pacifists: Democratic States and War
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Powerful Pacifists: Democratic States and War
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *