Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Research Institute of Industrial Economics

No 751: Democracy, Autocracy and the Likelihood of International Conflict

Thomas TangerĂ¥s ()
Additional contact information
Thomas TangerĂ¥s: Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN), Postal: P.O. Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden

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

JEL-codes: D72; D74; D82

24 pages, June 13, 2008

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