Skip to main content
×
×
Home

The Bar Fight Theory of International Conflict: Regime Type, Coalition Size, and Victory*

  • Benjamin A.T. Graham, Erik Gartzke and Christopher J. Fariss
Abstract

Studies of regime type and war show that democracies tend to win the wars they fight, but questions remain about why this is the case. A simple, if underappreciated, explanation for democratic success is that democracies fight alongside larger and more powerful coalitions. Coalition partners bring additional material capabilities and may also provide intangible benefits to the war effort, such as increased legitimacy or confidence. Democracies may also find it less costly to join coalitions, as democratic war aims may be easier to apportion among the victors without diluting the spoils. Evaluating our hypotheses in a sample of all wars (or all militarized disputes) during the period 1816–2000, we find that democracies fight alongside larger coalitions and that states fighting alongside larger coalitions are more likely to win major contests. Coalition size subsumes most (and in some specifications all) of the direct effect of regime type on victory.

Copyright
Footnotes
Hide All
*

Benjamin A. T. Graham is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, University of Southern California, 3518 Trousdale Pkwy Von KleinSmid Center 330, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0043 (benjamin.a.graham@usc.edu). Erik Gartzke is a Professor in the Department of Political Science, University of California, San Diego 9500 Gilman Drive/Office 327 SSB, 0521 La Jolla, CA 92093-0521 (egartzke@ucsd.edu). Christopher J. Fariss is a Jeffrey L. Hyde and Sharon D. Hyde and Political Science Board of Visitors Early Career, Professor in Political Science and Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, Pennsylvania State University, 200 Pond Lab, University Park, PA 16802 (cjf0006@gmail.com). The authors would like to thank the participants of the 2011 meeting of the International Studies Association and the 2010 meeting of the International Studies Association West. To view supplementary material for this article, please visit http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/psrm.2015.52

Footnotes
References
Hide All
Altfeld, Michael F. 1984. ‘The Decision to Ally: A Theory and Test’. Western Political Quarterly 37(4):523544.
Arrow, Kenneth J. 1951. Social Choice and Individual Values. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.
Beck, Nathaniel, Katz, Jonathan N., and Tucker, Richard. 1998. ‘Taking Time Seriously: Time-Series-Cross-Section Analysis with a Binary Dependent Variable’. American Journal of Political Science 42(4):12601288.
Benson, Brett V., Bentley, Patrick R., and Ray, James Lee. 2013. ‘Ally Provocateur: Why Allies Do Not Always Behave’. Journal of Peace Research 50(2):4758.
Boix, Carles, Miller, Michael, and Rosato, Sebastian. 2013. ‘A Complete Data Set of Political Regimes, 1800–2007’. Comparative Political Studies 46(12):15231554.
Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce, Smith, Alastair, Siverson, Randolph M., and Morrow, James D.. 2003. The Logic of Political Survival. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce, Morrow, James D., Siverson, Randolph M., and Smith, Alastair. 1999. ‘An Institutional Explanation for the Democratic Peace’. American Political Science Review 93(4):791807.
Bueno De Mesquita, Bruce, and Siverson, Randolph M.. 1995. ‘War and the Survival of Political Leaders — A Comparative Study of Regime Types and Political Accountability’. American Political Science Review 89(4):841855.
Cameron, A. Colin, and Trivedi, Pravin K.. 2005. Microeconometrics: Methods and Applications. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Chapman, Terrence. 2007. ‘International Security Institutions, Domestic Politics, and Institutional Legitimacy’. Journal of Conflict Resolution 51(1):134166.
Choi, Ajin. 2003. ‘The Power of Democratic Cooperation’. International Security 28(1):142153.
Choi, Ajin. 2004. ‘Democratic Synergy and Victory in War, 1816–1992’. International Studies Quarterly 48:663682.
Choi, Ajin. 2012. ‘Fighting to the Finish: Democracy and Commitment in Coalition War’. Security Studies 21(4):624653.
Clarke, Kevin, and Stone, Randall. 2008. ‘Democracy and the Logic of Political Survival’. American Political Science Review 102(2):387392.
Conybeare, John A.C. 1992. ‘A Portfolio Diversification Model of Alliances: The Triple Alliance and Triple Entente, 1879–1914’. Journal of Conflict Resolution 36(1):5385.
Conybeare, John A.C. 1994. ‘Arms Versus Alliances: The Capital Structure of Military Enterprise’. Journal of Conflict Resolution 38(2):215235.
Crabtree, Charles, and Fariss, Christopher J.. 2015. ‘Uncovering Patterns Among Latent Variables: Human Rights and De Facto Judicial Independence’. Research & Politics 2(3):19.
Cranmer, Skyler J., Desmarais, Bruce A., and Kirkland, Justin H.. 2012. ‘Toward a Network Theory of Alliance Formation’. International Interaction 38(3):295324.
Crescenzi, Mark J.C., and Enterline, Andrew J.. 2001. ‘Time Remembered: A Dynamic Model of Interstate Interaction’. International Studies Quarterly 45(3):409431.
Crescenzi, Mark J.C., Kathman, Jacob D., Kleinberg, Katja B., and Wood, Reed M.. 2012. ‘Reliability, Reputation, and Alliance Formation’. International Studies Quarterly 56(2):259274.
Croco, Sarah E. 2011. ‘The Decider’s Dilemma: Leader Culpability, War Outcomes, and Domestic Punishment’. American Political Science Review 105(3):457477.
Downes, Alexander. 2009. ‘How Smart and Tough Are Democracies?: Reassessing Theories of Democratic Victory in War’. International Security 33(4):951.
Downs, Anthony. 1957. An Economy Theory of Democracy. New York, NY: Harper and Row.
Downs, George, and Rocke, David M.. 1995. Optimal Imperfection: Domestic Uncertainty and Institutions in International Relations. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Doyle, Michael. 1997. Ways of War and Peace: Realism, Liberalism, and Socialism. New York, NY: Norton.
Efron, Bradley. 1983. ‘Estimating the Error rate of a Prediction Rule: Improvement on Cross-Validation’. Journal of the American Statistical Association 78(382):316331.
Epstein, David L., Bates, Robert, Goldstone, Jack, Kristensen, Ida, and O’Halloran, Sharyn. 2006. ‘Democratic Transitions’. American Journal of Political Science 50(3):551569.
Fazal, Tanisha. 2007. State Death: The Politics and Geography of Conquest, Occupation, and Annexation. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Filson, Darren, and Werner, Suzanne. 2004. ‘Bargaining and Fighting: The Impact of Regime Type on War Onset, Duration, and Outcome’. American Journal of Political Science 48(2):296313.
Gartner, Scott Sigmund, and Siverson, Randolph M.. 1996. ‘War Expansion and War Outcome’. Journal of Conflict Resolution 40(1):115.
Gartzke, Erik. 2001. ‘Democracy and the Preparation for War: Does Regime Type Affect States’ Anticipation of Casualties?’. International Studies Quarterly 45(3):467484.
Gartzke, Erik A., and Weisiger, Alex. 2014. ‘Under Construction: Development, Democracy, and Difference as Determinants of the Systemic Liberal Peace’. International Studies Quarterly 58(1):130145.
Gartzke, Erik, and Weisiger, Alex. 2013. ‘Fading Friendships: Alliances, Affinities and the Activation of International Identities’. British Journal of Political Science 43(1):2552.
Gartzke, Erik A., and Gleditsch, Kristian Skrede. 2004. ‘Regime Type and Commitment: Why Democracies are Actually Less Reliable Allies’. American Journal of Political Science 48(3):775795.
Gibler, Douglas, and Sarkees, Meredith Reid. 2004. ‘Measuring Alliances: The Correlates of War Formal Interstate Alliance Dataset, 1816–2000’. Journal of Peace Research 41(2):211222.
Goemans, Hein E., and Chiozza, Giacomo. 2011. Leaders and International Conflict. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Gordon, Phillip I. 2005. Permutation, Parametric, and Bootstrap Tests of Hypotheses. New York: Springer-Verlag.
Hill, Daniel W. Jr., and Jones, Zachary M.. 2014. ‘An Empirical Evaluation of Explanations for State Repression’. American Political Science Review 108(3):661687.
Hurd, Ian. 1999. ‘Legitimacy and Authority in International Politics’. International Organization 53(2):397408.
Ikeda, Maki, and Tago, Atsushi. 2014. ‘Winning Over Foreign Domestic Support for Use of Force: Power of Diplomatic and Operational Multilateralism’. International Relations of the Asia-Pacific 14(2):303324.
Kant, Immanuel. 1972(1795). Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Essay. New York, NY: Garland.
Kimball, Anessa L. 2010. ‘Political Survival, Policy Distribution, and Alliance Formation’. Journal of Peace Research 47(4):407419.
King, Gary. 1989. ‘Event Count Models for International Relations: Generalizations and Applications’. International Studies Quarterly 33(2):123147.
Koch, Michael, and Gartner, Scott Sigmund. 2005. ‘Casualties and Constituencies: Democratic Accountability, Electoral Institutions, and Costly Conflicts’. Journal of Conflict Resolution 49:874894.
Lai, Brian, and Reiter, Dan. 2000. ‘Democracy, Political Similarity, and International Alliances, 1816–1992’. Journal of Conflict Resolution 44(2):203227.
Lake, David A. 1992. ‘Powerful Pacifists: Democratic States and War’. American Political Science Review 86(1):2437.
Leeds, Brett Ashley. 2003. ‘Alliance Reliability in Times of War: Explaining State Decisions to Violate Treaties’. International Organization 57(4):801827.
Leeds, Brett Ashley, and Davis, David R.. 1997. ‘Domestic Political Vulnerability and International Disputes’. Journal of Conflict Resolution 41(6):814834.
Leeds, Brett Ashley, Ritter, Jeffrey M., Mitchell, Sara McLaughlin, and Long, Andrew G.. 2002. ‘Alliance Treaty Obligations and Provisions, 1815–1944’. International Interactions 28(3):237260.
Leeds, Brett Ashley, Mattes, Michaela, and Vogel, Jeremy S.. 2009. ‘Interests, Institutions, and the Reliability of International Commitments’. American Journal of Political Science 53(2):461476.
Levy, Jack. 1993. ‘The Diversionary Theory of War: A Critique’. In Manus I. Midlarsky (ed.), Handbook of War Studies. 259288. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.
Mackie, Gerry. 2003. Democracy Defended. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Madison, James. 1961. ‘Federalist 51’. In Clinton Rossiter (ed.), The Federalist Papers, 317321. New York, NY: New American Library.
Maoz, Zeev. 2005. ‘Dyadic MID Dataset (DYMID) Dataset (version 2.0)’. Computer File. Available at http://psfaculty.ucdavis.edu/zmaoz/dyadmid.html, accessed 5 January 2010.
Marshall, Monty G., and Jaggers, Keith. 2007. ‘Polity IV Project: Dataset Users’ Manual’. Available at www.systemicpeace.org/polity, accessed 3 December 2013.
Marshall, Monty, Jaggers, Keith, and Gurr, Ted R.. 2003. ‘Political Regime Characteristics and Transitions, Polity IV Dataset’. Available at http://www.cidcm.umd.edu/inscr/polity/, accessed 3 December 2013.
Martin, Lisa L., and Simmons, Beth A.. 1998. ‘Theories and Empirical Studies of International Institutions’. International Organization 52(4):729757.
Mattes, Michaela. 2012. ‘Reputation, Symmetry, and Alliance Design’. International Organization 6(4):679707.
Meernik, James D., and Waterman, Peter. 1996. ‘The Myth of the Diversionary Use of Force by American Presidents’. Political Research Quarterly 49(3):573590.
Morgenthau, Hans. 1978. Politics Among Nations. New York, NY: Knopf.
Morrow, James D. 1991. ‘Alliances and Asymmetry: An Alternative to the Capability Aggregation Model of Alliances’. American Journal of Political Science 35(4):904933.
Przeworski, Adam, and Limongi, Fernando. 1997. ‘Modernization: Theories and Facts’. World Politics 49(2):155183.
R Development Core Team. 2014. R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing. Vienna, Austria: R Foundation for Statistical Computing ISBN 3-900051-07-0. Available at http://www.R-project.org.
Reiter, Dan, and Stam, Allan C.. 1998. ‘Democracy and Battlefield Military Effectiveness’. Journal of Conflict Resolution 42(3):259277.
Reiter, Dan, and Stam, Allan C.. 2008. ‘Democracy, Peace, and War’. In Barry Weingast and Donald Wittman (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Political Science. Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199548477.003.0048.
Reiter, Dan, and C. Stam, Allan. 2002. Democracies at War. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Reiter, Dan, Stam, Allan C., and Horowitz, Michael C.. 2014. ‘A Revised Look at Interstate Wars, 1816–2007’. Journal of Conflict Resolution, doi:10.1177/0022002714553107.
Russett, Bruce M. 1971. ‘An Empirical Typology of International Military Alliances’. Midwest Journal of Political Science 15(2):262289.
Russett, Bruce M. 1990. Controlling the Sword: The Democratic Governance of National Security. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Russett, Bruce. 1993. Grasping the Democratic Peace: Principles for a Post-Cold War World. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Shadish, William R. 2010. ‘Campbell and Rubin: A Primer and Comparison of Their Approaches to Causal Inference in Field Settings’. Psychological Methods 12(1):317.
Simon, Michael W., and Gartzke, Erik. 1996. ‘Political System Similarity and the Choice of Allies: Do Democracies Flock Together or Do Opposites Attract?’. Journal of Conflict Resolution 40(4):617635.
Singer, J. David, and Small, Melvin. 1966. ‘Formal Alliances, 1815–1939: A Quantitative Description’. Journal of Peace Research 3(1):131.
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(2):285306.
Smith, Alastair. 1995. ‘Alliance Formation and War’. International Studies Quarterly 39(4):405425.
Stata Corporation. 2010. Stata 11.0. College Station, TX: Stata Corporation.
Sullivan, Patricia Lynne, and Gartner, Scott Sigmund. 2006. ‘Disaggregating Peace: Domestic Politics and Dispute Outcomes’. International Interactions 32(1):125.
Tago, Atsushi. 2005. ‘Determinants of Multilateralism in US Use of Force: State of Economy, Election Cycle, and Divided Government’. Journal of Peace Research 42(5):585604.
Tago, Atsushi. 2009. ‘When are Democratic Friends Unreliable? The Unilateral Withdrawal of Troops from the “Coalition of the Willing”’. Journal of Peace Research 46(2):219234.
Tago, Atsushi, and Ikeda, Maki. 2015. ‘An “A” for Effort: Experimental Evidence on UN Security Council Engagement and Support for US Military Action in Japan’. British Journal of Political Science 45(2):391410.
Valentino, Benjamin A., Huth, Paul K., and Croco, Sarah E.. 2010. ‘Bear Any Burden? How Democracies Minimize the Costs of War’. Journal of Politics 72(2):528544.
Voeten, Erik. 2005. ‘The Political Origins of the UN Security Council’s Ability to Legitimize the Use of Force’. International Organization 59(3):527557.
Walt, Stephen. 1987. The Origins of Alliances. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Waltz, Kenneth N. 1979. Theory of International Politics. Boston, MA: McGraw Hill.
Ward, Michael D., Greenhill, Brian D., and Bakke, Kristin M.. 2010. ‘The Perils of Policy by p-Value: Predicting Civil Conflicts’. Journal of Peace Research 47(4):113.
Weeks, Jessica, and Cohen, Dara. 2007. ‘Red Herrings? Non-State Actors and Militarized Interstate Disputes’. Paper presented at the 48th Annual Meetings of the International Studies Association, April 3–6, San Francisco, CA.
Weitsman, Patricia A. 2004. Dangerous Alliances Proponents of Peace, Weapons of War. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Wright, Thorin M. 2014. ‘Territorial Revision and State Repression’. Journal of Peace Research 51(3):375387.
Wright, Thorin M., and Diehl, Paul F.. 2014. ‘Unpacking Territorial Disputes Domestic Political Influences and War’. Journal of Conflict Resolution, doi:10.1177/0022002714553105.
Zacher, Mark. 2001. ‘The Territorial Integrity Norm: International Boundaries and the Use of Force’. International Organization 55(2):215250.
Recommend this journal

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

Political Science Research and Methods
  • ISSN: 2049-8470
  • EISSN: 2049-8489
  • URL: /core/journals/political-science-research-and-methods
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×
Type Description Title
PDF
Supplementary materials

Graham supplementary material
Appendix

 PDF (5.6 MB)
5.6 MB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score