Working Paper Series
Democracy, Autocracy and the Likelihood of International Conflict
Abstract: This is a game-theoretic analysis of the link between
regime type and international conflict. The democratic electorate can
credibly punish the leader for bad conflict outcomes, whereas the
autocratic selectorate cannot. For the fear of being thrown out of office,
democratic leaders are (i) more selective about the wars they initiate and
(ii) on average win more of the wars they start. Foreign policy behaviour
is found to display strategic complementarities. The likelihood of
interstate war, therefore, is lowest in the democratic dyad (pair), highest
in the autocratic dyad with the mixed dyad in between. The results are
consistent with empirical findings.
Keywords: Democracy; Autocracy; War; Maximal Equilibrium; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: D72; D74; D82; (follow links to similar papers)
24 pages, June 13, 2008
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