Personalistic and military dictatorships may be particularly prone to conflict initiation, as compared to other types of autocracy such as one party states, but also more likely to be targeted in a war having other initiators. Most of this article discusses research on relations between states. However, there is also evidence that democracies have less internal systematic violence.
For instance, one study finds that the most democratic and the most authoritarian states have few civil wars , and intermediate regimes the most. The probability for a civil war is also increased by political change, regardless whether toward greater democracy or greater autocracy. Intermediate regimes continue to be the most prone to civil war, regardless of the time since the political change.
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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 process of democratization Hegre et al. He finds that democide has killed six times as many people as battles. Statistically, a MENA democracy makes a country more prone to both the onset and incidence of civil war, and the more democratic a MENA state is, the more likely it is to experience violent intrastate strife. Moreover, anocracies do not seem to be predisposed to civil war, either worldwide or in MENA.
Looking for causality beyond correlation, they suggest that democracy's pacifying effect is partly mediated through societal subscription to self-determination and popular sovereignty. Note that they usually are meant to be explanations for little violence between democracies, not for a low level of internal violence in democracies. Several of these mechanisms may also apply to countries of similar systems.
The book Never at War finds evidence for an oligarchic peace. One example is the Polish—Lithuanian Commonwealth , in which the Sejm resisted and vetoed most royal proposals for war For a description, see Frost , esp. Another that a belief in human rights may make people in democracies reluctant to go to war, especially against other democracies. In addition, he holds that a social norm emerged toward the end of the nineteenth century; that democracies should not fight each other, which strengthened when the democratic culture and the degree of democracy increased, for example by widening the franchise.
Increasing democratic stability allowed partners in foreign affairs to perceive a nation as reliably democratic. The alliances between democracies during the two World Wars and the Cold War also strengthened the norms. He sees less effective traces of this norm in Greek antiquity. He refers in particular to the Swiss practice of participatory democracy.
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In less developed countries individuals often depend on social networks that impose conformity to in-group norms and beliefs, and loyalty to group leaders. When jobs are plentiful on the market, in contrast, as in market-oriented developed countries, individuals depend on a strong state that enforces contracts equally. Cognitive routines emerge of abiding by state law rather than group leaders, and, as in contracts, tolerating differences among individuals.
Marketplace democracies thus share common foreign policy interests in the supremacy—and predictability—of international law over brute power politics, and equal and open global trade over closed trade and imperial preferences. When disputes do originate between marketplace democracies, they are less likely than others to escalate to violence because both states, even the stronger one, perceive greater long-term interests in the supremacy of law over power politics.
By examining survey results from the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union, the author demonstrates that liberalism in that region bears a stronger resemblance to 19th-century liberal nationalism than to the sort of universalist, Wilsonian liberalism described by democratic peace theorists, and that, as a result, liberals in the region are more , not less, aggressive than non-liberals. Among the latter would be: having to fight, having to pay the costs of war from their own resources, having painfully to repair the devastation war leaves behind, and, to fill up the measure of evils, load themselves with a heavy national debt that would embitter peace itself and that can never be liquidated on account of constant wars in the future.
Democracy thus gives influence to those most likely to be killed or wounded in wars, and their relatives and friends and to those who pay the bulk of the war taxes; Russett , p. This monadic theory must, however, explain why democracies do attack non-democratic states. One explanation is that these democracies were threatened or otherwise were provoked by the non-democratic states.
Studies show that democratic states are more likely than autocratic states to win the wars. One explanation is that democracies, for internal political and economic reasons, have greater resources. This might mean that democratic leaders are unlikely to select other democratic states as targets because they perceive them to be particularly formidable opponents. One study finds that interstate wars have important impacts on the fate of political regimes, and that the probability that a political leader will fall from power in the wake of a lost war is particularly high in democratic states Ray Survey results that compare the attitudes of citizens and elites in the Soviet successor states are consistent with this argument Braumoeller Moreover, these constraints are readily apparent to other states and cannot be manipulated by leaders.
Thus, democracies send credible signals to other states of an aversion to using force. These signals allow democratic states to avoid conflicts with one another, but they may attract aggression from nondemocratic states. Democracies may be pressured to respond to such aggression—perhaps even preemptively—through the use of force.
In disputes between liberal states, the credibility of their bargaining signals allows them to negotiate a peaceful settlement before mobilization. An explanation based on game theory similar to the last two above is that the participation of the public and the open debate send clear and reliable information regarding the intentions of democracies to other states. In contrast, it is difficult to know the intentions of nondemocratic leaders, what effect concessions will have, and if promises will be kept. The risk factors for certain types of state have, however, changed since Kant's time.
In the quote above, Kant points to the lack of popular support for war — first that the populace will directly or indirectly suffer in the event of war — as a reason why republics will not tend to go to war. The number of American troops killed or maimed versus the number of Iraqi soldiers and civilians maimed and killed in the American-Iraqi conflict is indicative. This may explain the relatively great willingness of democratic states to attack weak opponents: the Iraq war was, initially at least, highly popular in the United States.
The case of the Vietnam War might, nonetheless, indicate a tipping point where publics may no longer accept continuing attrition of their soldiers even while remaining relatively indifferent to the much higher loss of life on the part of the populations attacked. Coleman examines the polar cases of autocracy and liberal democracy. In both cases, the costs of war are assumed to be borne by the people. In autocracy, the autocrat receives the entire benefits of war, while in a liberal democracy the benefits are dispersed among the people. Since the net benefit to an autocrat exceeds the net benefit to a citizen of a liberal democracy, the autocrat is more likely to go to war.
The disparity of benefits and costs can be so high that an autocrat can launch a welfare-destroying war when his net benefit exceeds the total cost of war. Contrarily, the net benefit of the same war to an individual in a liberal democracy can be negative so that he would not choose to go to war. This disincentive to war is increased between liberal democracies through their establishment of linkages, political and economic, that further raise the costs of war between them.
Therefore, liberal democracies are less likely to go war, especially against each other. Coleman further distinguishes between offensive and defensive wars and finds that liberal democracies are less likely to fight defensive wars that may have already begun due to excessive discounting of future costs.
There are several logically distinguishable classes of criticism Pugh Note that they usually apply to no wars or few MIDs between democracies, not to little systematic violence in established democracies. But see List of wars between democracies. However, its authors include wars between young and dubious democracies, and very small wars.
For example, Gowa finds evidence for democratic peace to be insignificant before , because of the too small number of democracies, and offers an alternate explanation for the following period see the section on Realist Explanations. However, this can be seen as the longest-lasting criticism to the theory; as noted earlier, also some supporters Wayman agree that the statistical sample for assessing its validity is limited or scarce, at least if only full-scale wars are considered.
According to one study Ray , which uses a rather restrictive definition of democracy and war, there were no wars between jointly democratic couples of states in the period from to Assuming a purely random distribution of wars between states, regardless of their democratic character, the predicted number of conflicts between democracies would be around ten. So, Ray argues that the evidence is statistically significant, but that it is still conceivable that, in the future, even a small number of inter-democratic wars would cancel out such evidence.
Douglas M. Gibler and Andrew Owsiak in their study argued peace almost always comes before democracy and that states do not develop democracy until all border disputes have been settled. The hypothesis that peace causes democracy is supported by psychological and cultural theories. Christian Welzel's human empowerment theory posits that existential security leads to emancipative cultural values and support for a democratic political organization Welzel This is in agreement with theories based on evolutionary psychology.
Several studies fail to confirm that democracies are less likely to wage war than autocracies if wars against non-democracies are included Cashman , Chapt. Some authors criticize the definition of democracy by arguing that states continually reinterpret other states' regime types as a consequence of their own objective interests and motives, such as economic and security concerns Rosato For example, one study Oren reports that Germany was considered a democratic state by Western opinion leaders at the end of the 19th century; yet in the years preceding World War I, when its relations with the United States, France and Britain started deteriorating, Germany was gradually reinterpreted as an autocratic state, in absence of any actual regime change.
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Some democratic peace researchers have been criticized for post hoc reclassifying some specific conflicts as non-wars or political systems as non-democracies without checking and correcting the whole data set used similarly. Supporters and opponents of the democratic peace agree that this is bad use of statistics, even if a plausible case can be made for the correction Bremer , Gleditsch , Gowa A military affairs columnist of the newspaper Asia Times has summarized the above criticism in a journalist's fashion describing the theory as subject to the no true Scotsman problem: exceptions are explained away as not being between "real" democracies or "real" wars Asia Times Some democratic peace researchers require that the executive result from a substantively contested election.
This may be a restrictive definition: For example, the National Archives of the United States notes that "For all intents and purposes, George Washington was unopposed for election as President, both in and ". Under the original provisions for the Electoral College , there was no distinction between votes for President and Vice-President: each elector was required to vote for two distinct candidates, with the runner-up to be Vice-President.
Sometimes the datasets used have also been criticized. For example, some authors have criticized the Correlates of War data for not including civilian deaths in the battle deaths count, especially in civil wars Sambanis These criticisms are generally considered minor issues.
The most comprehensive critique points out that "democracy" is rarely defined, never refers to substantive democracy, is unclear about causation, has been refuted in more than studies, fails to account for some deviant cases, and has been promoted ideologically to justify one country seeking to expand democracy abroad Haas Most studies treat the complex concept of "democracy" is a bivariate variable rather than attempting to dimensionalize the concept. Studies also fail to take into account the fact that there are dozens of types of democracy, so the results are meaningless unless articulated to a particular type of democracy or claimed to be true for all types, such as consociational or economic democracy, with disparate datasets.
Recent work into the democratic norms explanations shows that the microfoundations on which this explanation rest do not find empirical support. Within most earlier studies, the presence of liberal norms in democratic societies and their subsequent influence on the willingness to wage war was merely assumed, never measured. Moreover, it was never investigated whether or not these norms are absent within other regime-types.
Two recent studies measured the presence of liberal norms and investigated the assumed effect of these norms on the willingness to wage war. The results of both studies show that liberal democratic norms are not only present within liberal democracies, but also within other regime-types.
The peacefulness may have various limitations and qualifiers and may not actually mean very much in the real world. Democratic peace researchers do in general not count as wars conflicts which do not kill a thousand on the battlefield; thus they exclude for example the bloodless Cod Wars. However, as noted earlier, research has also found a peacefulness between democracies when looking at lesser conflicts. Liberal democracies have less of these wars than other states after Related to this is the human rights violations committed against native people , sometimes by liberal democracies.
One response is that many of the worst crimes were committed by nondemocracies, like in the European colonies before the nineteenth century, in King Leopold II of Belgium 's privately owned Congo Free State , and in Joseph Stalin 's Soviet Union. The United Kingdom abolished slavery in British territory in , immediately after the Reform Act had significantly enlarged the franchise. Of course, the abolition of the slave trade had been enacted in ; and many DPT supporters would deny that the UK was a liberal democracy in when examining interstate wars.
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Rummel argues that the continuing increase in democracy worldwide will soon lead to an end to wars and democide , possibly around or even before the middle of this century Democratic Peace Clock n.