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Journal Article

Normative and Structural Causes of Democratic Peace, 1946-1986

Zeev Maoz and Bruce Russett
The American Political Science Review
Vol. 87, No. 3 (Sep., 1993), pp. 624-638
DOI: 10.2307/2938740
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2938740
Page Count: 15
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Normative and Structural Causes of Democratic Peace, 1946-1986
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Abstract

Democratic states are in general about as conflict- and war-prone as nondemocracies, but democracies have rarely clashed with one another in violent conflict. We first show that democracy, as well as other factors, accounts for the relative lack of conflict. Then we examine two explanatory models. The normative model suggests that democracies do not fight each other because norms of compromise and cooperation prevent their conflicts of interest from escalating into violent clashes. The structural model asserts that complex political mobilization processes impose institutional constraints on the leaders of two democracies confronting each other to make violent conflict unfeasible. Using different data sets of international conflict and a multiplicity of indicators, we find that (1) democracy, in and of itself, has a consistent and robust negative effect on the likelihood of conflict or escalation in a dyad; (2) both the normative and structural models are supported by the data; and (3) support for the normative model is more robust and consistent.

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