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The Dividends of Diversion: Mature Democracies' Proclivity to Use Diversionary Force and the Rewards They Reap from It

Emizet F. Kisangani and Jeffrey Pickering
British Journal of Political Science
Vol. 39, No. 3 (Jul., 2009), pp. 483-515
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27742755
Page Count: 33
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Dividends of Diversion: Mature Democracies' Proclivity to Use Diversionary Force and the Rewards They Reap from It
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Abstract

The diversionary proclivities of democratic and autocratic regimes have been debated in the empirical literature. This new theoretical synthesis on the subject builds upon the insights of the institutional approach, rational choice literature on voting and research on audience costs. It is contended that leaders in mature democracies have more incentive to use diversionary force than leaders in other regimes, and they are more likely to gain domestic political and economic benefits from it. To test this, dynamic generalized method of moments (GMM) models are used to ascertain the reciprocal relationships between domestic political unrest, domestic economic performance and foreign military intervention in 140 countries in 1950–96. The theory is supported since, collectively, mature democracies are more prone to use diversionary force and to benefit from it than non-democracies. Interesting nuances appear when specific types of presidential or parliamentary democracies are analysed.

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