Democratic Peace Theory
The SAGE Encyclopedia of War: Social Science Perspectives, edited by Paul I. Joseph, Thousand Oaks: Sage, Forthcoming
5 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2015
Date Written: September 25, 2014
Democracies almost never go to war against each another. This simple observation has acquired the status of an empirical law in the social sciences. Yet, while democracies tend to have peaceful relations with one another, this is not to claim that democracies are generally less war-prone than other regime types. To the contrary, many empirical studies find that the overall rate of war involvement does not differ substantially between democracies and non-democracies. This dual finding constitutes the core of the ‘democratic peace’ and it specifies the elements that any theory needs to explain in order to fully account for the observed phenomena: the peaceful relations between democracies on the one hand, and the war involvement of democratic regimes on the other hand.
Keywords: democracy, peace, war, armed conflict
JEL Classification: Z00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation