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Toward a Democratic Civil Peace? Democracy, Political Change, and Civil War, 1816–1992

  • Håvard Hegre (a1)
    • Published online: 01 March 2002
Abstract

Coherent democracies and harshly authoritarian states have few civil wars, and intermediate regimes are the most conflict-prone. Domestic violence also seems to be associated with political change, whether toward greater democracy or greater autocracy. Is the greater violence of intermediate regimes equivalent to the finding that states in political transition experience more violence? If both level of democracy and political change are relevant, to what extent is civil violence related to each? Based on an analysis of the period 1816–1992, we conclude that intermediate regimes are most prone to civil war, even when they have had time to stabilize from a regime change. In the long run, since intermediate regimes are less stable than autocracies, which in turn are less stable than democracies, durable democracy is the most probable end-point of the democratization process. The democratic civil peace is not only more just than the autocratic peace but also more stable.

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American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
  • URL: /core/journals/american-political-science-review
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