Democratic Peace and Electoral Accountability¤

50 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2008

See all articles by Paola Conconi

Paola Conconi

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES)

Nicolas Sahuguet

HEC Montreal - Institute of Applied Economics

Maurizio Zanardi

Lancaster University - Department of Economics

Date Written: July 2008

Abstract

One of the few stylized facts in international relations is that democracies, unlike autocracies, very rarely fight each other. We examine the sustainability of international peace between democracies and autocracies, where the crucial difference between these two political regimes is whether or not policymakers are subject to periodic elections. We show that the fear of losing office can deter democratic leaders from engaging in military conflicts. Crucially, this discipline effect can only be at work if incumbent leaders can be re-elected, implying that democracies in which the executives are subject to term limits should be more conflict prone. To assess the validity of our predictions, we construct a large dataset on countries with executive term limits. Our analysis of inter-state conflicts for the 1816-2001 period suggests that electoral incentives are indeed behind the democratic peace phenomenon: while democratic dyads are in general less likely to be involved in conflicts than any other dyads, this result does not hold for democracies in which the executive faces binding term limits; moreover, the dispute patterns of democracies with term limits depend on whether the executive is in the last or penultimate mandate.

Keywords: Democratic Peace, Elections, Term Limits

JEL Classification: C72, D72, F00

Suggested Citation

Conconi, Paola and Sahuguet, Nicolas and Zanardi, Maurizio, Democratic Peace and Electoral Accountability¤ (July 2008). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP6908, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1240218

Paola Conconi (Contact Author)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES) ( email )

Ave. Franklin D Roosevelt, 50 - C.P. 114
Brussels, B-1050
Belgium
32 2 650 2345 (Phone)
32 2 650 4475 (Fax)

Nicolas Sahuguet

HEC Montreal - Institute of Applied Economics ( email )

3000, ch. de la Côte-Ste-Catherine
Montréal, Quebec H3T 2A7
Canada

Maurizio Zanardi

Lancaster University - Department of Economics ( email )

Lancaster LA1 4YX, LA1 4YX
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/staff/zanardi/

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