Explaining the Democratic Peace

So democracies don’t fight other democracies. Why not?

Takeaway Points

  1. There are three common explanations for the democratic peace.
  2. First is the culture of contracts: democratic citizens are used to non-violent conflict resolution domestically and thus seek non-violence conflict resolution internationally.
  3. Second is transparency: democracies are more transparent than non-democracies and thus are less likely to get into wars involving asymmetric information and incentives to misrepresent.
  4. Third is electoral incentives: democratic regimes have incentive to promote the common good and thus do not start wars that would only benefit the leaders.
  5. Each of these explanations would imply that democracies should also be less likely to fight non-democracies. Yet we do not see that.
  6. We do not have a theoretical explanation for the democratic peace that is consistent with the dyadic statistical result.