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Title: Polities and Peace
Authors: Farber, Henry S.
Gowa, Joanne
Keywords: democracy
international relations
Issue Date: 1-Jan-1994
Citation: International Security, Vol. 20, No. 2, Fall, 1995
Series/Report no.: Working Papers (Princeton University. Industrial Relations Section) ; 324
Abstract: In this paper, we review the central claim of a growing literature: that is, that democratic states rarely, if ever, wage war against and are very unlikely to engage in militarized disputes with other democratic states. We first examine the analytic foundations of this claim. We conclude that they are tenuous. Next, we examine the evidence. We find that no statistically significant relationship exists between regime type and the probability of war before World War I. We also find that the probability of disputes short of war is significantly higher for democratic-democratic pairs than for other pairs of states in the pre- 1914 period. In both cases, our analysis shows that the hypothesized relationship prevails only after World War H. Because of the Cold War that ensued after 1945, our results suggest that the relationship we observe between democracy and conflict is the product of common interests rather than of common polities. An analysis of the relationship between regime type and the probability of alliance formation lends support to this interpretation.
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