POL SCI: The Democratic Peace

The Democratic Peace:

No two liberal democracies have ever fought each other in a war-But democracies do fight non-democracies

Liberalism: Immanuel Kant:

(Perpetual Peace 1795)- the path to world peace was the spread of liberal democratic government


political philosophy placing the highest value on the rights of individuals

Liberal democracies:

democracies meant to enforce the rules protecting these rights

Perpetual Peace: The spread of democracy was inevitable in the long-run because...

democracy was a better form of government

Perpetual Peace: Internal pressure:

monarchs would have to trade political power for tax revenue

External pressure:

dictatorships are out-competed by democracies


-Democracy has spread-Democracies win more wars (81%)-Wars involving democracies are shorter in duration-Democracies suffer fewer casualties

The Democratic Peace: Two explanations: Explanation 1:

Normative Argument-Because of democratic norms (such as compromise), democracies are not war prone-Democracies externalize democratic norms and so compromise more in foreign policy -But not when dealing with non-democracies

War is prevented by:

institutional constraints and political constraints: mobilization for war in democracies is difficult

Institutional Constraints: Mobilization for war in democracies is difficult

-Time required for a democracy to mobilize is longer than for a non-democracy-So, when there is a conflict between 2 democracies, by the time the 2 states are ready for war, a diplomatic solution to the conflict has been found

Norms or Institutional Constraints? The two arguments both

predict that democracies will not fight one another:1)Democratic institutions prevent leaders from getting involved in wars with other democracies2)Leaders constrained by democratic norms, which prevents them from fighting other democracies

So, how do you distinguish between the two contraints?

Different predictions

Different Predictions: Maoz and Russett:

-Democratic norms take time to develop- the normative model would thus predict that older democracies should be less likely to clash with one another than newer ones-As long as the institutional constraints are in place, the age of the regime should not matter

Different Predictions:The institutional constraints model implies:

variations between different democracies because different democracies have different constraints-In the normative model, this should make no difference

Predictions: When the level of democratic norms is low and the level of political constraints is high:

the normative model predicts conflict, while the institutional model does not(newer democracy)

Predictions: When the level of democratic norms is high and the level of political constraints is low:

the institutional model predicts conflict, while the normative model does not(older democracy)

The Data: Relevant dyad-years:

(1946-1986)dyad=any two countries (France and Germany)

The Data: Dependent variable:

militarizied disputes

Democracy measured from �Polity� data:

-competitiveness of political participation-regulation of participation-competitiveness and openness of executive recruitment- constraints on the chief executive

The Data: Institutional constraints:

executive constraint, centralization, scope of government action

The Data: Norms:

political stability & the level of political violence (number of political executions)

The Results: Both models supported by the data:

-Found that leaders who practice norms at home were more peaceful abroad-Constraints also important

Other Democratic Peace Findings:

-Democracies do not fight each other-Democracies fight wars with non-democracies-Democracies emerge victorious in war-Democracies reach peaceful settlements when disputes arise with other democracies-Democracies are more likely to initiate war against autocracies than autocracies are likely to initiatewars against democracies

Other Democratic Peace Findings:

-Democracies experience fewer battle deaths in the wars they initiate-Democracies are more likely to fight shorter wars than autocracies-Democracies are more likely to fight with one another when they are in transition to democracy