Democratizing the Dispute: An Assessment of Democratization, Issue Salience, and Territorial Dispute Resolution
28 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2014
Date Written: 2014
Using dispute-year data from the Issues Correlates of War project, I argue that democratization can greatly impact states’ decisions to attempt to resolve their territorial disputes. Over 85% of the time, states engaged in a territorial dispute do not attempt to resolve it any manner. The territory does not change so some other factor must change to drive the decision to engage in the rare event of attempting resolution. One such shock is a change in political regime. I further argue that democratization and issue salience are linked, and the level of issue salience greatly impacts the willingness of a newly democratic regime to attempt to settle their territorial disputes. Democratization creates a window of opportunity for states to attempt to resolve their territorial disputes, but only if the salience of the issue allows for the regime to find a worthwhile settlement to sell to their populations.
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