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Incomplete Democratization and the Outbreak of Military Disputes

Edward D. Mansfield, Jack Snyder
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1468-2478.00244 529-549 First published online: 1 December 2002


Whereas most research on the democratic peace has focused on relations within pairs of states, research on the relationship between democratization and armed conflict has centered primarily on the behavior of individual states. Moreover, the existing literature has placed primary emphasis on explaining the effects of democratization on war, rather than military disputes more generally. In this article, we find that certain types of democratic transitions markedly increase the risk of such disputes within dyads, even when economic and political relations between states are taken into account. Particularly prone to violence are dyads in which either state undergoes an incomplete democratic transition; that is, a shift from an autocratic to a partially democratic (or anocratic) regime that stalls prior to the establishment of consolidated democratic institutions.

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