Skip to main content
×
×
Home

An Institutional Explanation of the Democratic Peace

  • Bruce Bueno de Mesquita (a1), James D. Morrow (a1), Randolph M. Siverson (a2) and Alastair Smith (a3)
Abstract

We examine formally the link between domestic political institutions and policy choices in the context of eight empirical regularities that constitute the democratic peace. We demonstrate that democratic leaders, when faced with war, are more inclined to shift extra resources into the war effort than are autocrats. This follows because the survival of political leaders with larger winning coalitions hinges on successful policy. The extra effort made by democrats provides a military advantage over autocrats. This makes democrats unattractive targets, since their institutional constraints cause them to mobilize resources for the war effort. In addition to trying harder, democrats are more selective in their choice of targets. Because defeat is more likely to lead to domestic replacement for democrats than for autocrats, democrats only initiate wars they expect to win. These two factors lead to the interaction between polities that is often referred to as the democratic peace.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Bates, Robert H., Greif, Avner, Levi, Margaret, Rosenthal, Jean-Laurent, and Weingast, Barry R. 1998. Analytic Narratives. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Bennett, Scott D., and Stam, Allan C. III. 1996. “The Duration of Interstate Wars: 1812–1985.” American Political Science Review 90 (June): 239–57.
Bennett, Scott D., and Stam, Allan C. III. 1998. “The Declining Advantages of Democracy: A Combined Model of War Outcomes and Duration.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 42 (June): 344–66.
Benoit, Kenneth. 1996. “Democracies Really Are More Pacific (in General).” Journal of Conflict Resolution 40 (December): 636–57.
Brecher, Michael, and Wilkenfeld, Jonathan. 1997. A Study of Crisis. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Bremer, Stuart. 1992. “Dangerous Dyads: Conditions Affecting the Likelihood of Interstate War, 1816–1965.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 26 (June): 309–41.
Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce. 1981. The War Trap. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce. 1983. “The Costs of War: A Rational Expectations Approach.” American Political Science Review 77 (June): 347–57.
Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce, and Lalman, David. 1992. War and Reason: Domestic and International Imperatives. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce, Morrow, James D., Siverson, Randolph M., and Smith, Alastair. 1997. “Inside Out.” Hoover Institution. Typescript.
Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce, Morrow, James D., Siverson, Randolph M., and Smith, Alastair. 1998. “Endogenous Political Institutions and the Survival of Leaders.” Hoover Institution. Typescript.
Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce, Morrow, James D., Siverson, Randolph M., and Smith, Alastair. 1999. “Policy Failure and Political Survival: The Contribution of Political Institutions.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 43 (April): 131–45.
Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce, Morrow, James D., Siverson, Randolph M., and Smith, Alastair. N.d. “Political Institutions, Political Survival and Policy Success.” In Governing for Prosperity, ed. de Mesquita, Bruce Bueno and Root, Hilton. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Forthcoming.
Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce, Morrow, James D., and Zorick, Ethan. 1997. “Capabilities, Perception and Escalation.” American Political Science Review 91 (March): 1527.
Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce, and Siverson, Randolph. 1995. “War and the Survival of Political Leaders: A Comparative Study of Regime Types and Political Accountability.” American Political Science Review 89 (December): 841–55.
Dixon, William. 1994. “Democracy and the Peaceful Settlement of International Conflict.” American Political Science Review 88 (March): 1432.
Downs, George W., and Rocke, David M. 1994. “Conflict, Agency, and Gambling for Resurrection: The Principal-Agent Problem Goes to War.” American Journal of Political Science 38 (May): 362–80.
Farber, Henry S., and Gowa, Joanne. 1995. “Polities and Peace.” International Security 20 (Fall): 123–46.
Fearon, James. 1994. “Domestic Political Audiences and the Escalation of International Disputes.” American Political Science Review 88 (September): 577–92.
Fearon, James. 1995. “Rationalist Explanations for War.” International Organization 39 (Summer): 379414.
Forsythe, David P. 1992. “Democracy, War, and Covert Action.” Journal of Peace Research 29 (November): 385–95.
Goemans, Hein. 1995. “The Causes of War Termination: Domestic Politics and War Aims.” Ph.D. diss. Department of Political Science, University of Chicago.
Hirshleifer, Jack. 1989. “Conflict and Rentseeking Success Functions: Ratio vs. Difference Models of Relative Success.” Public Choice 63 (2): 101–12.
James, Patrick, and Mitchell, Glenn E. II. 1995. “Targets of Covert Pressure: The Hidden Victims of the Democratic Peace.” International Interactions 21 (1): 85107.
Kim, Woosang, and Morrow, James D. 1992. “When Do Shifts in Power Lead to War?American Journal of Political Science 36 (November): 896922.
King, Gary, Tomz, Michael, and Wittenberg, Jason. 1998. “Making the Most of Statistical Analyses: Improving Interpretation and Presentation.” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Boston, MA.
Lake, David A. 1992. “Powerful Pacifists: Democratic States and War.” American Political Science Review 86 (March): 2437.
Layne, Christopher. 1994. “Kant or Cant: The Myth of the Democratic Peace.” International Security 19 (Fall): 549.
Lamborn, Alan. 1991. The Price of Power. London: Unwin Hyman.
Levy, Jack S. 1988. “Domestic Politics and War.” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 18 (Spring): 653–73.
Levy, Jack S. 1989. “The Diversionary Theory of War: A Critique.” In Handbook of War Studies, ed. Midlarsky, Manus I.Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Mansfield, Edward D., and Snyder, Jack. 1995. “Democratization and War.” Foreign Affairs 74 (May/June): 7997.
Maoz, Zeev. 1998. “Realist and Cultural Critiques of the Democratic Peace: A Theoretical and Empirical Re-assessment.” International Interactions 24 (1): 389.
Maoz, Zeev, and Abdolali, Nazrin. 1989. “Regime Types and International Conflict, 1816–1976.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 33 (March): 336.
Maoz, Zeev, and Russett, Bruce M. 1993. “Normative and Structural Causes of the Democratic Peace.” American Political Science Review 87 (September): 624–38.
McGillivray, Fiona. 1997. “Party Discipline as a Determinant of the Endogenous Formation of Tariffs.” American Journal of Political Science 41 (April): 584607.
Morgan, T. Clifton, and Campbell, Sally Howard. 1991. “Domestic Structure, Decisional Constraints, and War: So Why Kant Democracies Fight?Journal of Conflict Resolution 35 (June): 187211.
Morrow, James D. 1989. “Capabilities, Uncertainty and Resolve.” American Journal of Political Science 33 (November): 941–72.
Mousseau, Michael. 1998. “Democracy and Compromise in Militarized Interstate Conflicts, 1816–1992.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 42 (April): 210–30.
Mueller, John D. 1973. War, Presidents and Public Opinion. New York: Wiley.
Norpoth, Helmut. 1987. “Guns and Butter and Governmental Popularity in Britain.” American Political Science Review 81 September): 949–59.
Oneal, John R., and Russett, Bruce M. 1997. “The Classical Liberals Were Right: Democracy, Interdependence, and Conflict, 1950–1985.” International Studies Quarterly 41 (June): 267–93.
Organski, A. F. K., and Kugler, Jacek. 1980. The War Ledger. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Powell, Robert. 1996a. “Stability and the Distribution of Power.” World Politics 48 (January): 239–67.
Powell, Robert. 1996b. “Uncertainty, Shifting Power, and Appeasement.” American Political Science Review 90 (December): 749–64.
Ray, James Lee. 1995. Democracies in International Conflict. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press.
Raymond, Gregory A. 1994. “Democracies, Disputes, and Third-Party Intermediaries.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 38 (March): 2442.
Reiter, Dan, and Stam, Allan III. 1998a. “Democracy and Battlefield Military Effectiveness.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 42 (June): 259–77.
Reiter, Dan, and Stam, Allan III. 1998b. “Democracy, War Initiation and Victory.” American Political Science Review 92 (June): 377–89.
Richards, Diana, Morgan, T. C., Wilson, R. K., Schwebach, V. L., and Young, G. D. 1993. “Good Times, Bad Times, and the Diversionary Use of Force.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 37 (September): 504–35.
Riker, William. 1962. The Theory of Political Coalitions. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Riker, William. 1996. The Strategy of Rhetoric. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Russett, Bruce M. 1995. Grasping the Democratic Peace. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Schultz, Kenneth. 1996. “Domestic Competition and Bargaining in International Crises.” Ph.D. diss. Department of Political Science, Stanford University.
Schwartz, Thomas, and Skinner, Kiron. 1997. “Democracy and the Paradox of Perpetual Peace.” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Washington, D.C.
Senese, Paul D. 1997. “Between Dispute and War: The Effect of Joint Democracy on Interstate Conflict Escalation.” Journal of Politics 59 (February): 127.
Siverson, Randolph M. 1995. “Democracies and War Participation: In Defense of the Institutional Constraints Argument.” European Journal of International Relations 1 (December): 481–90.
Smith, Alastair. 1996. “Diversionary Foreign Policy in Democratic Systems.” International Studies Quarterly 40 (March): 133–53.
Smith, Alastair. 1998. “International Crises and Domestic Politics.” American Political Science Review 92 (September): 623–38.
Spiro, David. 1994. “The Insignificance of the Liberal Peace.” International Security 19 (Fall): 5086.
Stam, Allan C., 1996. Win, Lose or Draw: Domestic Politics and the Crucible of War. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Thompson, William R., and Tucker, Richard. 1997. “A Tale of Two Democratic Peace Critiques.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 41 (June): 428–54.
Ward, Michael D., and Gleditsch, Kristian S. 1998. “Democratizing for Peace.” American Political Science Review 92 (March): 5162.
Werner, Suzanne. 1996. “Absolute and Limited War: The Possibilities of Foreign Imposed Regime Change.” International Interactions 22 (July): 6788.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
  • URL: /core/journals/american-political-science-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed