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Winners or Losers? Democracies in International Crisis, 1918–94

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 January 2002

Christopher F. Gelpi
Affiliation:
Duke University
Michael Griesdorf
Affiliation:
Duke University

Abstract

We attempt to explain when and why democratic states will prevail in international crises. We review several of the prominent theories about democratic political structures and derive hypotheses from each framework about crisis outcomes. These hypotheses are tested against the population of 422 international crises between 1918 and 1994. Our findings provide further evidence that the democratic peace is not a spurious result of common interests. Moreover, we also begin the difficult task of differentiating among the many theories of the democratic peace. In particular, we find strong evidence that democratic political structures are important because of their ability to generate domestic audience costs. Our findings also support the argument that democratic political structures encourage leaders to select international conflicts that they will win.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © American Political Science Association 2001

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