Political Regime Type and Warfare: Evidence from 600 Years of European History

42 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2016 Last revised: 14 Jul 2017

Meredith Blank

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Mark Dincecco

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Yuri M. Zhukov

Harvard University - Department of Government

Date Written: July 10, 2017

Abstract

This paper presents new evidence that, historically, the relationship between political regime type and warfare was different than it is today. Using a novel database of interstate conflict in Europe between 1200 and 1800, we perform the first quantitative analysis of domestic political institutions and warfare across the pre-modern era. We find that early parliamentary regimes -- the institutional predecessors of modern democracies -- were disproportionately more likely to experience armed conflict than their absolutist counterparts. Our empirical strategy makes use of two complementary approaches: a standard dyadic analysis of conflict initiation, and a dynamic network analysis that accounts for interdependence between dyads. These analyses show that early parliamentary regimes fought in significantly more wars than absolutist monarchies, both against one another and overall. Such regimes, we argue, had a relatively large capacity to make war, but, unlike modern democracies, not enough institutional constraints to prevent it.

Suggested Citation

Blank, Meredith and Dincecco, Mark and Zhukov, Yuri M., Political Regime Type and Warfare: Evidence from 600 Years of European History (July 10, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2830066

Meredith Blank

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )

500 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

Mark Dincecco (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )

500 S. State Street

Yuri M. Zhukov

Harvard University - Department of Government ( email )

1737 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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