Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 30
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Treisman, Daniel 2015. Income, Democracy, and Leader Turnover. American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 59, Issue. 4, p. 927.

    Carter, Jeff and Palmer, Glenn 2016. Regime Type and Interstate War Finance. Foreign Policy Analysis, p. orw021.

    Kisangani, Emizet F. and Pickering, Jeffrey 2015. The human consequences of foreign military intervention. Defence and Peace Economics, p. 1.

    Wallace, Jeremy L. 2015. Emerging Trends in the Social and Behavioral Sciences.

    Stevens, Daniel 2015. War and Elections. International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 59, Issue. 3, p. 477.

    Arena, Philip and Nicoletti, Nicholas P. 2014. Selectorate theory, the democratic peace, and public goods provision. International Theory, Vol. 6, Issue. 03, p. 391.

    Byman, Daniel 2016. ‘Death Solves All Problems’: The Authoritarian Model of Counterinsurgency. Journal of Strategic Studies, Vol. 39, Issue. 1, p. 62.

    Debs, Alexandre 2016. Living by the Sword and Dying by the Sword? Leadership Transitions in and out of Dictatorships. International Studies Quarterly, p. sqv014.

    Shea, Patrick E. 2016. Borrowing Trouble: Sovereign Credit, Military Regimes, and Conflict. International Interactions, Vol. 42, Issue. 3, p. 401.

    Albertus, Michael and Menaldo, Victor 2014. Dealing with Dictators: Negotiated Democratization and the Fate of Outgoing Autocrats. International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 58, Issue. 3, p. 550.

    Wolford, Scott 2014. Threats at Home, Threats Abroad: Bargaining and War in the Shadow of Coups and Revolutions. International Interactions, Vol. 40, Issue. 4, p. 506.

    Epperly, Brad 2013. The Provision of Insurance?. Journal of Law and Courts, Vol. 1, Issue. 2, p. 247.

    Ausderan, Jacob 2015. Following an Experienced Shepherd: How a Leader’s Tenure Affects the Outcome of International Crises. International Interactions, Vol. 41, Issue. 1, p. 26.

    Wolford, Scott and Ritter, Emily Hencken 2016. National Leaders, Political Security, and the Formation of Military Coalitions. International Studies Quarterly, p. sqv023.

    Spaniel, William and Smith, Bradley C. 2015. Sanctions, Uncertainty, and Leader Tenure. International Studies Quarterly, p. n/a.

    Miller, Ross A. 2015. You’ve Got to Know When to Fold ‘Em: International and Domestic Consequences of Capitulation, 1919–1999. International Interactions, Vol. 41, Issue. 4, p. 674.

    Ungerer, Jameson Lee 2012. Assessing the Progress of the Democratic Peace Research Program. International Studies Review, Vol. 14, Issue. 1, p. 1.

    Melville, Andrei and Mironyuk, Mikhail 2016. “Bad enough governance”: state capacity and quality of institutions in post-Soviet autocracies. Post-Soviet Affairs, Vol. 32, Issue. 2, p. 132.

    DiGiuseppe, Matthew and Shea, Patrick E. 2015. Sovereign Credit and the Fate of Leaders: Reassessing the “Democratic Advantage”. International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 59, Issue. 3, p. 557.

    Geddes, Barbara Frantz, Erica and Wright, Joseph G. 2014. Military Rule. Annual Review of Political Science, Vol. 17, Issue. 1, p. 147.


Regime Type, the Fate of Leaders, and War

  • ALEXANDRE DEBS (a1) and H.E. GOEMANS (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 September 2010

We propose and test a formal model of war and domestic politics, building on recent evidence on the relationship between regime type, the effect of war on the probability of losing office, and the consequences of losing office. The less the outcome of international interaction affects a leader's tenure and the less punitive are the consequences of losing office, the more a leader is willing to make concessions to strike a peaceful bargain. We demonstrate that our theory successfully predicts war involvement among nondemocratic regime types. Moreover, our theory offers an intuitive explanation for the democratic peace. Compared to nondemocratic leaders, the tenure of democratic leaders depends relatively little on the war outcome, and democratic leaders fare relatively well after losing office. Thus, democratic leaders should be more willing and able to avoid war, especially with other democrats.

Corresponding author
Alexandre Debs is Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Yale University, Rosenkranz Hall, Room 311, PO Box 208301, New Haven, CT 06520-8301 (
H.E. Goemans is Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Rochester, 320 Harkness Hall, Rochester, NY 14627 (
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Janet M. Box-Steffensmeier , Dan Reiter , and Christopher J.W. Zorn . 2003. “Nonproportional Hazards and Event History Analysis in International Relations.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 47 (1): 3353.

Giacomo Chiozza , and H.E. Goemans . 2004. “International Conflict and the Tenure of Leaders: Is War Still Ex Post Inefficient?American Journal of Political Science 48 (3): 604–19.

Darren Filson , and Suzanne Werner . 2004. “Bargaining and Fighting: The Impact of Regime Type on War Onset, Duration, and Outcomes.” American Journal of Political Science 48 (2): 296313.

Jennifer Gandhi , and Adam Przeworski . 2006. “Cooperation, Cooptation, and Rebellion under Dictatorships.” Economics and Politics 18 (1): 126.

H.E. Goemans , Kristian Skrede Gleditsch , and Giacomo Chiozza . 2009Introducing Archigos: A Data Set of Political Leaders, 1875–2003.” Journal of Peace Research. 46 (2): 269–83.

H.E. Goemans , and Mark Fey . 2008. “Risky but Rational: War as an Institutionally Induced Gamble.” Journal of Politics 71 (1): 3554.

Matthew O. Jackson , and Massimo Morelli . 2007. “Political Bias and War.” American Economic Review 97 (4): 1353–73.

Brian Lai , and Dan Slater . 2006. “Institutions of the Offensive: Domestic Sources of Dispute Initiation in Authoritarian Regimes.” American Journal of Political Science 50 (1): 113–26.

Gilat Levy , and Ronny Razin . 2004. “It Takes Two: An Explanation for the Democratic Peace.” Journal of the European Economic Association 2 (1): 129.

John R. Oneal , and Bruce M. Russett . 1997. “The Classical Liberals Were Right: Democracy, Interdependence, and Conflict, 1950–1985.” International Studies Quarterly 41 (2): 267–93.

Gerard Padro i Miquel . 2007. “The Control of Politicians in Divided Societies: The Politics of Fear.” Review of Economic Studies 74 (4): 1259–74.

John Patty , and Roberto A. Weber . 2006. “Agreeing to Fight: An Explanation of the Democratic Peace.” Politics, Philosophy & Economics 5 (3): 305–20.

Kenneth A. Schultz 2001b. “Looking for Audience Costs.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 45 (1): 3260.

Milan Svolik . 2009. “Power-sharing and Leadership Dynamics in Authoritarian Regimes.” American Journal of Political Science 53 (2): 477–94.

Spencer Weart . 1994. “Peace among Democratic and Oligarchic Republics.” Journal of Peace Research 31 (3): 299316.

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? *