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Democracy and Maturity: Deciphering Conditional Effects on Levels of Dispute Intensity

Paul D. Senese
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/0020-8833.00131 483-502 First published online: 1 September 1999


A good deal of recent research has focused on the possible dangers associated with young democracies that are trying to weave their way through modern interstate relations for the first time. Democratic transitions, and their immediate aftermath, have been isolated as periods plagued by all sorts of potential conflict. Further, some studies implicitly suggest that the maturity of the regime may matter at least as much as the type of regime. This research directly examines the interactive effects of both joint democracy and joint maturity on the levels of intensity reached in militarized conflict. The findings reveal the conditional importance of both factors. Joint democracy imparts disparate effects on the hostility intensification of disputes, in terms of direction and magnitude, depending on maturity levels. Similarly, the magnitude of the joint maturity impact is contingent on democracy levels, although the direction of its influence remains unchanged across varying degrees of democracy. These findings signal the necessity of explicitly considering linkages between the effects of regime type and regime maturity in theories and tests of dyadic conflict dynamics.

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