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Democratic Synergy and Victory in War, 1816–1992

Ajin Choi
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0020-8833.2004.00319.x 663-682 First published online: 1 September 2004


This study investigates the question of why democracies are more likely to win wars than non-democracies. I argue that due to the transparency of the polities, and the stability of their preferences, once determined, democracies are better able to cooperate with their partners in the conduct of wars, and thereby are more likely to win wars. In support of my argument, the main findings in this study show that, other things being equal, the larger the number of democratic partners a state has, the more likely it is to win; moreover, democratic states are more likely to have democratic partners during wars. These results are in contrast with those in current literature about the high likelihood of prevailing by democracies in wars, which emphasize, on the one hand, the superior capacity of democratic states to strengthen military capabilities and, on the other hand, to select wars in which they have a high chance of winning.

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