Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

SSE Working Paper Series in Economics,
Stockholm School of Economics

No 2016:1: Democracy and International Conflict

Alberto Vesperoni () and Karl Wärneryd ()
Additional contact information
Alberto Vesperoni: FoKoS Institute, Postal: University of Siegen, Weidenauer Strasse 167, DE-57076 Siegen, Germany
Karl Wärneryd: Dept. of Economics, Postal: Stockholm School of Economics, P.O. Box 6501, SE-113 83 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: During the past two centuries, western nations have successively extended the voting franchise to citizens of lower income. We explain this process of democratization as a rational way for incumbent elites to wage war effectively on other nations, as in a strategic game of international conflict handing over military spending decisions to citizens who face a lower tax cost of arming may confer a strategic delegation advantage. We find supporting empirical evidence in case studies of franchise extensions in the United Kingdom, France, and the United States.

Keywords: War; conflict; contest; democracy; franchise extension

JEL-codes: D72; D74; F51; O15

38 pages, March 31, 2016

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