War and Democracy
Gregory D. Hess
Claremont McKenna College - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)
Central Bank of Cyprus
Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 109, August 2001
We present a general equilibrium model of conflict to investigate whether the prevalence of democracy is sufficient to foster the perpetual peace hypothesized by Immanuel Kant and whether the world would necessarily become more peaceful as more countries adopt democratic institutions. Our exploration suggests that neither hypothesis is true. The desire of incumbent leaders with unfavorable economic performance to hold on to power generates an incentive to initiate conflict and salvage their position-- with some probability. An equilibrium with positive war frequency is sustained even if all nations were to adopt representative democratic institutions and even in the absence of an appropriative motive for war.
Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: February 16, 2002
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