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

Abstract

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

Mello, Patrick A., Democratic Peace Theory (September 25, 2014). The SAGE Encyclopedia of War: Social Science Perspectives, edited by Paul I. Joseph, Thousand Oaks: Sage, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2674255

Patrick A. Mello (Contact Author)

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
Amsterdam, 1081 HV
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://research.vu.nl/en/persons/patrick-a-mello

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