Kant We All Just get Along? Opportunity, Willingness, and the Origins of the Democratic Peace

  • Gartzke E
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Abstract

Theory: Current theories of the democratic peace focus on the constraining power of po- litical institutions, culture, or international trade. If instead democracies are much less likely to disagree about each other's policies, then we would expect them to seldom fight regardless of whether they are constrained from acting on conflicts by institutions, cul- ture, or other factors. While previous research on the democratic peace has been careful to construct statistical models of "opportunity"-the physical obstacles nations face in engaging in war-research to date has failed to incorporate "willingness"-the psycho- logical incentives nations have to overcome obstacles in pursuit of their objectives. Hypothesis: I argue that a satisfactory assessment of the democratic peace requires con- trolling for willingness as well as opportunity. A measure of the affinity nations have for each other's international policy should correlate with observations of the democratic peace. Methods: I present a statistical model of national preference using data from the United Nations General Assembly 1950-85 to assess whether joint democracy still accounts for the democratic peace. I test the model using logistic regression and by replicating recent quantitative studies of the democratic peace. Results: Results support the argument that national preferences account for the lack of conflict

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Authors

  • Erik Gartzke

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